Vodacom reports strong SA growth

2012-05-21 10:37
Cape Town - Mobile operator Vodacom has reported strong growth and an increased number of subscribers.

Increasing data traffic has pushed up group earnings 7.8%, particularly from smartphones driving earnings growth.

The company's customer base has increased, internationally as well as locally.

"Our customer numbers are up 30% to 48 million - we added 11 million in the year. Six of the 11 come from South Africa and five from the international operations," CEO Pieter Uys told News24.

The company said it is making a significant investment in the expansion of its network. This serves to increase capacity as well as renewing the radio equipment.

Smartphones

"We've made a substantial investment in the network - our group capex [capital expenditure] increased by 37% to almost R9bn - that gives you a capex just short of 13%," Uys said.

Vodacom said data demand was strong in SA and customers in the country grew to 29 million, an increase of 27%.

"The demand remains strong; there's strong competition in the SA market. Data revenue is up 24% year-on-year. 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," said Uys.

He said that smartphone usage doubled in the year and the devices now make up 40% and have a data bundle attached.

"Smartphones remain the key driver of the data revenue growth - the active smartphones growing by two million in the year. Smartphones are now making up a fifth of our active handsets."

Vodacom has also seen strong growth in low-cost handsets, particularly as consumers still buy phones for voice communication.

"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," said Uys.


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