Edgars to open tech stores for drones, action cams and IoT playstuff

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With mobile device use projected to skyrocket into the billions just for Africa in the next couple of years, it is really no surprise that mobile service providers and companies associated with them are making heaps in revenue.

Most people around the country are on prepaid mobile plans, so the fact that a company like Blue Label Telecoms saw a 14% increase in revenue for the last financial year is not unexpected.

Blue Label Telecoms is responsible for the virtual distribution of secure electronic tokens of value like prepaid airtime, starter packs and electricity vouchers.

The 14%, or R22 billion in revenue, also translates into R1.64 billion in gross profit, and share holders will also be happy with the 21% increase in headline earnings per share.

In terms of the prepaid market, Blue Label is connecting around 700 000 SIM cards per month. The company only handles Vodacom SIMs, so that is a lot of new connections for one network.

As much as 85% of the company’s revenue comes from the informal and rural areas. It can supply community-based and customised benefit starters packs, and packages such as ‘chat4change’.

Only 15% of the revenue is currently generated from the formal sector, but the company will partner with the EdCon Group soon to open stand-alone stores for connectivity needs.

“During the period, the segment distributed an increase number of products and services, in particular. We also are opening 46 Edgars Connect stand-alone stores, with 100 stores planned by the end of the year and 400 over the next 24 months,” said co-CEO Brett Levy.

For the stand-alone stores, Levy said that people shouldn’t think of it as a cellular store, as it iwill be stores that will connect people to almost anything.

In theory, people will be able to buy any device that connects to a network through a SIM card. That might sound like such a broad concept, but that is exactly what Levy wants.

“Anything that connects through a SIM card to a network will be sold here. We will be a reseller of drones or action cameras – anything that connects via a SIM. We will be an end-to-end solution and we get all the services of EdCon,” he said.

Blue Label is also involved in the ticketing spaces with its TicketPro subsidiary, and Levy said that the size of ticketing in the country is about the same size as prepaid mobile contract and electricity.

Because it is growing at an exponential rate as more people buy tickets for sporting events, music concerts and festivals, Blue Label revamped the system.

Levy revealed that tickets will now be NFC-capable in a credit-card format, and that makes it easier for the company to reward people for buying tickets.

The company can use the scanning and NFC technology to track people’s spending and ticket buying, and can reward them at certain venues for purchases.

With the ticket sales volume up by 26% in South Africa over the last year, TicketPro has become the second largest ticketing engine in South Africa.

“The focus for the period (last financial year) was on gaining brand recognition and growing market share for TicketPro. As a result, ticket sales volume were up by 26%, and important distribution partners gained were the TicketPro Dome (where rAge is held every year) and Nasrec show ground,” Levy concluded.

[Image – CC by 2.0/MIKI Yoshihito]

Charlie Fripp

Charlie Fripp

Charlie started his professional life as a motoring journalist for a community newspaper in Mpumalanga, Charlie explored different journalistic angles since his entry into the fast-paced world of publishing in 2006. While fostering a passion for the arts, Charlie developed a love for technology – both which allowed him to serve as Entertainment and Technology Editor for an online publication. Charlie has since been heavily involved in consumer technology for various websites and publications. He thoroughly enjoys World War II films and cerebral documentaries; aviation; photography and indie music. Oh yes, and he also has a rather strange obsession with collecting coffee mugs from his travels.