Vodacom and Telkom have been adding mobile subscriber numbers in South Africa at the expense of MTN, a chart of the performance of the three operators over the past five years shows.
Apart from a minor blip in the second half of the 2015 financial year, Vodacom has consistently added subscribers in South Africa every six months. Telkom, meanwhile, has had an uninterrupted rise in the same period, growing the fastest of the three operators, albeit off a much smaller base.
Full historical numbers from the unlisted Cell C, South Africa’s third largest operator after MTN, are not readily available and so aren’t included in the chart.
Cell C had 16.3m subscribers in the 2017 financial year ended 31 December 2017, up 12% from a year earlier. TechCentral has asked Cell C for its historical numbers and will update the chart if these are provided.
Though MTN’s financial results are in June (interim) and December (full year), TechCentral has used the operator’s quarterly numbers for a more direct comparison with Vodacom and Telkom.
The chart shows that over the five-year period, Telkom was the fastest-growing mobile operator, with its subscriber numbers jumping by more than 245%. Vodacom, the country’s biggest operator, grew its numbers by more than 42% in the same period, while MTN grew its base by about 20%. MTN’s numbers are skewed, however, as the company “modernised” its definition of subscribers at the end of 2017. The March 2018 figure for MTN shows the modernised subscriber number.
Telkom’s numbers have risen sharply since the company introduced its popular, data-led FreeMe mobile plans in mid-2016, with its mobile subscribers almost doubling since then. — © 2018 NewsCentral Media