Revenue growth in its home market helped Vodacom offset declines in the rest of Africa during the June quarter, the mobile network reported on Thursday morning.

The group’s revenue for the three months grew 3.9% to R20.7bn, boosted by South African revenue growth of 7.8% to R16.65bn offsetting an 8.2% decline to R4.24bn in revenue outside of SA.

Attracting more South African prepaid customers helped Vodacom compensate for declining average revenue per user (arpu).

Vodacom said prepaid arpu declined to R58/month in the June quarter from R61/month in the March quarter. It attracted an additional 2.2-million prepaid customers during the quarter, taking its total in SA to 34.2-million.

South African contract customers remained flat at 5.1-million, while arpu fell to R393/month from R401/month.

Vodacom CEO Shameel Joosub said the declining arpu was thanks to the group making its rates more affordable.

"The 9.1% and 18.9% decline in effective voice and data prices respectively over the quarter reflects our commitment to driving down the cost to communicate in SA. As I have stated previously, there is more work to be done on this front, and we will be introducing additional measures this year to give greater control to customers by improving our out-of-bundle pricing," Joosub said in the trading update.

Subscriber number growth of 3.9% in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to 10.8-million helped the group show a 0.9% overall increase in customers outside SA to 30-million despite declines in Lesotho and Tanzania, while Mozambique remained flat.

"In the DRC, economic weakness and decoupling of the Congolese franc from the US dollar continues to impact consumer spending. Exchange rate volatility continues to negatively impact reported growth," Joosub said.

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