Cell C, South Africa’s third mobile phone operator, reported on Tuesday a 6% rise in subscribers to 16.3 million in the year to end-December 2017.
The mobile phone operator also revealed that in the same period the number of smartphones on its network rose by 21% year-on-year to 9.2 million devices.
The company also stated that its current active data customers increased to 12.6 million.
As expected, the operator’s net profit surged 660% to R4.1 billion, on the back of a reported EBITDA of R7.8bn benefiting from a once-off gain of R4.1bn arising from the recapitalisation transaction.
The aim of the transaction was to generate a healthy and sustainable balance sheet for the business and the company said “combined with the turnaround strategy, this has been accomplished”.
It added that the positive net equity of the business of R3.8bn and the reduced debt from R17.7bn to just over R6.8bn are both indicative of the work put into generating a vigorous business.
Cell C’s revenue rose 7% to R15.7 billion in 2017 versus R14.6 billion in 2016.
“While our turnaround strategy was put in place in 2012, the recapitalisation of Cell C last year has really allowed us to create a strong foundation for the business. Our plans now are to build out this strategy and really accelerate our growth and investment going forward,” says Cell C CEO Jose Dos Santos.
Cell C said it now offers 3G services to 96% of the South African population.
Its LTE-Advanced network, focussed predominantly in the metropolitan areas, covers approximately 32% of the population.
“We will invest significantly in our network over the next few years with an aggressive rollout of more LTE-Advanced sites. The network investment in 2017 was lower than in previous years, largely due to the slowed investment during the transaction period. “This investment will increase going forward to ensure we keep pace with infrastructure and capacity needs and technological innovations,” says Dos Santos.