Improved Market Share Springs NetOne Back To Profitability

Telecommunications giant, NetOne’s inroads to regain lost market share has yielded positive results, to posting a $ 10.2 million profit for the year ending 31 December 2018, as subscribers increased to 3.3 million from 2.6 registered in 2017.

This was a strong rebound posting a historic $ 88 million turnaround from a loss position of $ 77.7 million in 2017.

As a result, revenue grew 13 percent, to reach $ 119.2 during the period from $105.5 million realized prior year.

This was complimented by systematic cost containment interventions that saw overhead costs restricted to $ 56.8 million in 2018 from $ 72.7 million incurred in 2017.

“As a board we seek to create an enabling environment for the transformation of the business into a profitable tech-pioneering company. The growth in revenue was driven by 15 percent growth in subscribers coupled by reengineering of our service offerings,” Netone Board Chair, James Mutizwa said.

The company was further buoyed by positive market response following rebranding of its mobile money platform in 2017, from One Wallet to One Money.

This saw an improvement in mobile money market share of 2.5 percent to reach 1.2 million subscribers in its first year since rebranding.

In 2018, One Money subscribers increased by 32.7 percentage points, as outlined in the Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (POTRAZ) Fourth Quarter 2018 Report.

“The growth in OneMoney may be ascribed to the benefits, which include a ZimSwitch-enabled debit card that has become highly popular in the country’s cash-lite economy. The debit card is strengthened by the ability to shift money to and from banks on the ZimSwitch platform,” read the company statement.

Mobile data revenue also stirred the company on profit course, particularly with its One-Fusion bundles that became an instant hit on the market.

“Data contribution to revenue firmed from 26 percent to 37 percent indicative of shifting customer needs and preferences supported by our increasing social media engagement. Net One recorded EBITDA margin of 32 percent which is within industry trends,” said the company.

Analysts believe the strong performance during the year is likely to send positive signals to suitors, given government is muting a merger with TelOne and suitable investors to partially privatize it following a string of losses in recent years as part of its Parastatal and State Enterprise reforms.