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Data key to Vodacom growth

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Vodacom, which now boasts 34,2-million South African customers, has seen dramatic growth in its data revenues for the year ended 31 March 2016.
Shameel Joosub, group CEO of Vodacom, comments: “I am very pleased with our performance this year, with strong execution of our strategy delivering solid results.
“The acceleration in network investment over the past two years is a true success story of effective capital investment to ensure growth in revenue and customers.
“The demand for data continues to be our key driver,” he adds. “Overall revenue grew 7,5%, with a slight decline in customers to 61,3-million, as a result of customer registration requirements in our international operations.”
In South Africa, the company boasts 34,2-million customers, 2,1-million up from last year, Joosub says. “We spent R8,7-billion to upgrade our network infrastructure which includes more than doubling our LTE/4G sites to over 6 000. This enabled us to increase LTE/4G coverage across South Africa to 58% (from 35%) to satisfy exceptional growth in demand for data.
“Affordability of devices and data bundles led to a 46,8% increase in data traffic as data bundle sales jumped 85,9%.
“Our personalised ‘Just 4 You’ offers, part of our wider pricing transformation strategy, assisted in improved voice revenue trends, while at the same time reducing effective price per minute by 16,9%.”
International operations grew strongly with service revenue up by 16,2% compared to 10% growth in 2015.
“This was achieved in an environment of heightened security regulations where unregistered customers of all operators were suspended,” Joosub says. “Service revenue from international operations accounted for 26,6% of the group equivalent. Notably, Lesotho exceeded R1-billion in revenue for the first time.”
Looking ahead, Joosub says Vodacom will continue to explore spectrum opportunities.
“South Africa is falling behind on broadband rollout and access,” he says. “Due to the country’s dependency on mobile data, it is key to secure access to spectrum to unlock this growth potential and fulfil the growing data demands of the population.
“The proposed acquisition of Neotel lapsed in March due to regulatory complexities and certain conditions not being fulfilled. Our ambitions to increase the rollout of fibre-based broadband services to homes and businesses remain.
“We will also continue to drive our customer experience and network advantage by investing heavily in resources and infrastructure. As was the case a year ago, we remain cautiously optimistic while being fully cognisant of the various changing regulatory and macroeconomic environments.”