South Africa'sVodacom Group reported a 2 percent increase in first-half service revenue on Monday, lifted by rising demand for data services in its home market.

Vodacom, majority owned by Britain'sVodafone, has invested heavily in itsnetwork to provide faster internet services as increasing numbers of consumers use smartphones.

Group service revenue rose2 percent to 34.7 billion rand (USD 2.41 billion), while group revenue increased 4.6 percent to 42 billion rand.

Vodacom, which gained a 35 percent stake in Kenya'sSafaricom as Vodafone consolidated two of its African interests in May, said revenue at Safaricom's money transfer service M-Pesa rose 14 percent in the first half.

Headline earnings per share - a profit gauge that strips out certain one-off items - came in at 445 cents in the six-months ended September, compared with 440 cents a year earlier.

Vodacom, which is still being investigated by the Competition Commission for suspected market dominance, declared an interim dividend per share of 390 cents, slight lower than the previous year. – Nasdaq



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