Despite strong competition, Vodacom remained the leader in the South African cellular market with an estimated 55% market share as at March 31, 2008.
The decline in market share is a result of increased deletions on the prepaid customer base and renewed efforts by the existing competitors to increase their share of the gross connections of both contract and prepaid customers, says the company.
The cellular industry in South Africa has grown by an estimated 10% since March 2007. The market penetration of the cellular industry is now an estimated 94% of the population with a total cellular market of approximately 45-million customers. Prepaid customers continue to dominate the market and comprise an estimated 83% of the total cellular market.
As reported last week, Vodacom grew its customer base 7,9% to 24,8-million customers. Of these, pre-paid customers increased by 6,4% to 21,2-million, while the number of contract customers increased by 17,5% to 3,5-million.
The strong growth in customers was a direct result of the number of gross connections achieved, with continued levels of handset support to service providers in respect of the contract base, combined with decreased churn in the contract base, according to the company.
Contract gross connections increased by 17,4% to 782 thousand, and prepaid gross connections increased by 11,1% to 11,2-million, bringing the total number of connections for the year to 12-million.
Vodacom`s data revenue increased mainly due to higher penetration levels, but also due to more affordable product offerings. Vodacom South Africa
transmitted 4,7-billion SMSs over its network during the year ended March 31, 2008.
The number of active data users includes: MMS users 1,4-million; data card and USB modem users 370 000; 3G/HSDPA handsets 1,3-million; Vodafone live! users 1,43-million; and unique
Data revenue now constitutes 11,9% of service revenue (excluding equipment sales, starter pack sales and non-recurring revenue). Data revenue in all countries increased substantially, reaffirming the increased consumer connectivity needs.
Vodacom`s interconnection revenue increased by 13,4%, predominantly due to the growth in the customer base and the related increase in airtime traffic.
In South Africa, handset sale volumes increased by 10,9% to 5,1-million units. The growth in equipment unit sales was mainly driven by growth in customer bases, phone upgrades by customers and lower overall prices of new handsets due to more suppliers focusing on more affordable handsets.