Vodacom’s extraordinary lockdown data bonanza

Vodacom South Africa enjoyed a 64% year-on-year increase in data consumed by “smart devices”, including smartphones and tablets, driven by the Covid-19 lockdown, parent Vodacom Group said on Monday.

The group reported the astonishing growth number in its interim results to end-September 2020.

Data traffic was up 86% year on year, while South African unit’s data customers grew 4.1% to 22.3 million and smart devices were up by 9.5% to 22.2 million.

“The number of 4G devices on our network increased 28.8% to 14.2 million, while the average usage per smart device increased 64% to 2.2GB/month,” Vodacom said. Since the launch, a cumulative 10.9 million unique users have accessed the company’s zero-rated platform called ConnectU.

South African average revenue per user, or Arpu, increased 20.8% to R64, supported by increased usage and the reduction in the average customer base over the period.

In the contract segment, customer service revenue increased 3.9% supported by Vodacom Business, which “rapidly responded to changed education and work connectivity needs”.


“Despite the tough economic backdrop, we added customers in the contract segment, to grow 2% to 6.1 million. The segment’s additions were driven by Vodacom Business customers, which were up 14.8%,” Vodacom said. “Overall contract Arpu increased 0.3% and 2.8% quarter on quarter.”

The company also accelerated its fibre roll-out in the six-month period, more than doubling the number of homes and businesses connected to 95 258 (on its own fibre and as an Internet service provider on other providers’ infrastructure). Its own fibre passed 128 213 homes and businesses as at 30 September 2020.

The South African operation’s earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortision (Ebitda) grew by almost 10%, supporting margin expansion of 0.6 percentage points.

Capital expenditure of R5-billion was up 5.3% year on year, with greater spend on batteries to “increase resilience and network availability, and investment to support incremental capacity”. – © 2020 NewsCentral Media

Source: techcentral.co.za