[South Africa] Vodacom Nearly Doubles 4G Base

The number of active 4G/LTE customers on Vodacom’s South African network has increased by 88.9% in the past 12 months, the operator revealed in its interim financial results on Monday.

At the end of September 2016, Vodacom had 3,6m active 4G users on its network. The growth in 4G users contributed to a 14.4% increase in average monthly data usage on smart devices, to 629MB.

“This has resulted in an overall ARPU (Average Revenue Per User) uplift of 23.7% as customers migrate from 3G to 4G and 17.9% as customers migrate from 2G to 3G,” Vodacom CEO Shameel Joosub said in notes accompanying the financial statements.

South African service revenue grew by 5.6% to R25.5 billion aided by strong customer net additions and increased data demand. Revenue grew by 3.8% to R31.4billion, impacted by a 5.2% decrease in equipment revenue due to higher prices and weaker consumer demand.

Active customers grew strongly, reaching 35,7m, with 1,5m net customer additions in the first half of the year. Active prepaid customers increased by 1,4m to reach 30,6m. Prepaid voice bundle purchases increased by 26.8% to 447m bundles, reducing the pace of voice revenue declines for the past four quarters. These personalized offers led to a 15.4% reduction in the prepaid effective price per minute.

Vodacom South Africa added 131 000 contract customers, with contract churn down to just 5.1%. Contract ARPU rose by 5.4% to R408.
Data revenue, which increased by 19.5% to R9.9billion, now makes up 38.8% of service revenue, up from 34.3% a year ago. Active data customers grew by 4.1% to 18,2m. It said the average price per megabyte fell by 13% over the past year and by 61% over the past four years.

Vodacom ploughed R4.1billion into its South African network in the six months ended September 2016, which it used to widen its 3G and 4G data coverage “substantially”. 3G coverage increased to 99.2% of the population and 4G coverage to 68.7%, up from 46.8% a year ago, it said.

“We extended our high-speed transmission to 89.8% of our sites. We are making good progress on our fibre deployment by entering strategic wholesale agreements to sell services through other network providers. We completed the development of our new customer management and billing systems to futureproof our operations and have migrated approximately 70% of our consumer contract customers to this new platform,” it added.
Source: Techcentral