Business

Vodacom revenue rises on sales outside South Africa

Amy Thomson, Chris Spillane

South Africa's biggest mobile operator has seen sales increase by 11% over the quarter as non-South Africans increased their data spending.

Vodacom in South Africa is 65% owned by UK-based Vodafone. (Gallo)

Vodacom Group, the mobile operator with the most subscribers in South Africa, said fiscal third-quarter revenue rose as customers outside its home market more than doubled their spending on data.

Sales increased by 11% on the quarter to R20.2-billion in the three months through December, the Johannesburg- based company said on Wednesday. Data revenue was up by 41% to R3.61-billion across the company and rose by more than 100% in its international business.

Vodacom, which is 65% owned by England-based Vodafone Group, is expanding in newer, high-growth territories such as Mozambique and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Its goal is to offset falling domestic voice revenue, which is under pressure following proposed cuts in the rates it is allowed to charge for terminating calls on its network.

"This quarter highlights once again that our strategy of sustained network investment is key to allow us to grow our overall business while still driving down the cost to communicate," said chief executive Shameel Joosub.

Joosub said in December that the company will spend more than R9-billion this year on infrastructure in South Africa as it adds high-speed, fibre web service to homes and businesses. Vodacom said in September that it was in exclusive talks to acquire internet provider Neotel.

The number of active customers rose by about 12% to 56-million in the quarter compared with a year earlier, the company said. South African customers increased by 5.1% to 31-million, while Mozambique was its fastest growing market, increasing by 44% to 4.1-million subscribers.

Vodacom share prices were up by 3.5% on the day to R119.75 a share by the market close in Johannesburg on Tuesday, its biggest daily gain since November 15. The stock has fallen by 10% so far this year compared with a decrease of 8.8% at Johannesburg-based competitor MTN Group. – Bloomberg

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