The biggest telecoms operator in South Africa, which is majority-owned by Britain's Vodafone Group, said service revenue in the three months ended Dec. 31 rose to 31 billion rand ($1.67 billion).

On a pro-forma basis, which includes Egypt as if it was owned from April 1, 2022 instead of Dec. 8, 2022, service revenue increased 8.8%.

Vodacom bought a 55% stake in the Egyptian arm of Vodafone for about 43.6 billion rand in 2021, the largest deal in the telecoms operator's history.

In Egypt, the local currency revenue growth of 31.5% was supported by strong performance of mobile data, fixed broadband and financial services, including a 40.7% improvement in data traffic.

Vodacom's aggressive focus on new services, which include digital and financial services, fixed broadband and internet of things - the concept of connecting household devices to the internet, saw those new services growing to 6.2 billion rand and contributing 20.1% to group service revenue, up from 19.2% a year earlier.

Financial services remains the largest component of new services, having grown 31% to 3.4 billion rand in the quarter, largely on the back of new products scaling and strong customer growth of 12%.

Like its peer MTN Group, Vodacom has been transforming its business from just providing telecom services to building a technology company that now enables its 200 million customers to also lend money, make payments, shop online and control appliances at home using smartphones.

In South Africa, revenue rose by 4% to 22.8 billion rand, supported by strong growth in equipment revenue, while service revenue grew 1.9%, slowing down from the second-quarter growth of 4.1%.

($1 = 18.5751 rand)

(Reporting by Nqobile Dludla; Editing by Christian Schmollinger and Subhranshu Sahu)