Vodacom branding on the Ponte Building in Hilbrow, Johannesburg. File Picture: GALLO IMAGES/FOTO24/FELIX DLANGAMANDLA
Vodacom branding on the Ponte Building in Hilbrow, Johannesburg. File Picture: GALLO IMAGES/FOTO24/FELIX DLANGAMANDLA

Vodacom managed to offset a decline in customer numbers and revenue outside SA by growing its home market.

The drop in customer numbers outside SA meant Vodacom’s overall active customer number fell by 64,000 to 65.2-million over 2016, its December quarter trading update released on Wednesday morning showed

Vodacom had 36.4-million active customers in SA at December 31, an increase of 2.3-million, or 6.7%, from the end of 2015.

Tougher subscriber identity demanded by African government saw its subscriber numbers fall 17.9% in the Democratic Republic of Congo and 2.3% in Tanzania.

This took its overall active customer base outside SA down 7.5% to 28.8-million.

The drop in subscribers outside SA translated into a 9% fall in revenue to R4.3bn from its international unit for the December quarter.

Its South African business grew revenue 5% to R17bn, helping the group grow its overall revenue for the quarter by 1.2% to R21bn from the matching quarter in 2015.

In its home market, 86% of Vodacom users are prepaid and 14% have signed up for monthly contracts.

The average revenue per user per month for prepaid customers fell 3% to R64, but the monthly bill for contract users grew 1.2% to R414 in the quarter.

Vodacom CEO Shameel Joosub said the growth in its South African customer base was due to its youth-targeted “Just 4 You” marketing campaign.

“The unavailability of spectrum, further delayed by the publication of the White Paper by the ministry of telecommunications and postal services in October last year, remains a concern,” Joosub said in the trading update.

“We have been involved in a number of positive engagements with relevant industry stakeholders as we seek to find a workable solution to make broadband even more accessible and affordable for South Africans. This is the express objective of the White Paper and Vodacom is aligned with this goal.”

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