Vodacom not bothered by 'C-team'

2012-05-22 22:01
Cape Town - Vodacom says that it has not been hurt by the departure of top executives to competitor Cell C, as new CEO Alan Knott-Craig makes moves at the helm to increase the market share of the mobile operator.

"You're talking about our C-team going to Cell C? We've made sure that we've really looked after our A-team, and I'm comfortable that we have the A-team in place that will take the business forward," Vodacom CEO Pieter Uys told News24.

Vodacom executives Jose dos Santos, Frikkie Vermeulen and Joe Brittz are set to join Cell C, but both companies have been tight-lipped about what roles they will take as well as whether of any restraint of trade clauses apply.

Vodacom reported robust growth, underpinned by strong demand for mobile data and the growth of smartphones.

Vodacom said that in the last year, demand for data services has increased 35.4% to 12.2 million customers in SA and smartphones increased by 55.4% to 5.1 million devices on the Vodacom network.

Competition

Cell C recently announced that it has dropped call rates to 99c per minute and former Vodacom CEO Knott-Craig is determined to increase the market share of the junior operator in SA.

Uys conceded that competition was driving prices lower and said that Vodacom had also seen a significant increase in the number of subscribers buying low-cost handsets.

"In the ultra low-cost handset segment - good growth - the handsets selling for below R100, with lots of competition in the retail channel. We've also re-focused our distribution to better service previously underserved areas and we throughout the year had very attractive promotions in the voice space," Uys said.

He said that while data revenue was up, there was strong competition and consumer demand for data services.

"The demand remains strong; there's strong competition in the SA market. Data revenue is up 24% year-on-year. The active data customers [are] up 35%: Now just over 12 million [and] all of the 12 million are buying data bundles on a monthly basis."

Smartphones growth continues to be strong and accompanied by an increasing demand for cheaper data cost and Uys said that competition and operator promotions have seen data costs decline in the country.

"This has resulted in an 18% year-on-year reduction in the price per megabyte."


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