Vodacom prioritises mobile data to improve network penetration - CNBC Africa

Vodacom prioritises mobile data to improve network penetration

Earnings

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A man talking on a cell phone. PHOTO: Getty Images.

The telecommunications company, which released results on Monday, reported that group revenue increased from 36.6 million rand for the six months ended 30 September, from 34.4 million rand in the previous comparative year.

Group active customers also increased 9.7 per cent to 53.8 million, with net connections of 949 000 for South Africa and 2.3 million in the group’s international operations for the six months period.

“A cornerstone of our strategy is sustained investment in network capacity. With increased capacity, we're able to offer better value and support higher usage without impacting quality,” [DATA VOD:Vodacom]Vodacom Group CEO Shameel Aziz Joosub said in a statement.

Revenue for its South Africa operations increased six per cent to 30.1 million rand, which was supported by a 41.2 per cent increase in equipment sales as well as data revenue growth of 20.6 per cent.

“In South Africa, we invested R3.1 billion in the network during the period and increased 3G coverage to 88.9 per cent of the population,” Joosub explained.

“On the voice side, our prepaid average effective price per minute came down 16.9 per cent to 59 cents. As a result, our prepaid customer base increased by 927 000 active customers and outgoing voice traffic increased 21.2 per cent.”

Service revenue increased 2.9 per cent, excluding the impact of lower mobile termination rates.

Data revenue increased 20.6 per cent to 5 million, contributing 21.5 per cent to service revenue this year from 17.8 per cent in the previous year.

Service revenue for the group’s international operations, excluding Gateway Carrier Services (GCS),  grew 34.7 per cent to 6.5 million rand. This was supported by a 22.4 per cent increase in customers to 23.7 million rand.

“Our international operations are still showing strong growth despite regulatory headwinds and intensified competition,” Joosub explained.

Data revenue for the operation grew 100.6 per cent, and was driven by 41 per cent growth in active data customers to 6.1 million. Vodacom now has 25.6 per cent of the customer base using data compared to 22.2 per cent a year ago.

“Mobile data is one of the biggest opportunities with smartphone and tablet penetration still at low levels in all our markets,” said Joosub.

“In South Africa handset financing underpins our strategy of putting data capable devices into our customers' hands. We continue to work closely with the governments in our operations to align our investments to national development objectives to maximise the impact we can make.” 

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