On Friday, the firm which is a unit of Vodacom Group Ltd, announced its half year net profits for 2019 had jumped 14.4% to Sh35.65 billion ($356.5 million).
During the half year period, M-pesa revenue grew by 18.2% to Sh41.97 billion ($419.7 million) and mobile data revenue increased by 4% to Sh19.78 billion ($197.8 million).
Mid this year, the government launched a crackdown on sports-betting companies, which rely on phone-based transactions for operations and at one point forced Safaricom to suspend its paybill number it had issued to the betting firms, something which held the growth of M-Pesa back but despite that its performance was still better than expected.
“Excluding gaming, M-Pesa grew at a very impressive 20.9% year-on-year, which is more impressive than the 18.9% in the previous year,” Chief Financial Officer Sateesh Kamath said.
On the other hand, Safaricom’s voice service revenue which makes up the bulk of the telco’s revenues and messaging (SMS) revenues suffered a decline.
Safaricom messaging income dropped by 11.0% to 8.60 billion ($86 million) and voice revenue dipped by 1.4% to Sh46.87 billion ($468.7 million).
The decline was linked to Safaricom’s corrective actions that allowed better management of subscriptions.
"Revenue growth for the half year to September 2019 was 5.3 percent driven by robust performance across M-Pesa and fixed data and strong customer growth offsetting decline in the traditional revenue streams and soft performance on mobile data," said Safaricom outgoing chief executive Michael Joseph while announcing the results at the firm’s headquarters in Nairobi.