Vodacom, South Africa’s biggest mobile phone operator, on Monday posted a 5.2% rise in revenue to R62 billion for the year to end-March 2016 and also added 2.1 million new customers on its network. By Gugu Lourie

The company’s total customers rose to 34.2 million, reflecting a 6.4% rise compared to the same period in 2014. Vodacom, which is majority owned by British giant Vodafone, said prepaid customers rose 7.6% to 29.3 million while contract subscribers were flat at 4.9 million users.

The telco added that its data revenue was up 27.7% to R17.3 billion, driven by improved access to more affordable devices and increased data coverage.

Vodacom also reported that active smart devices on its network increased 22.8% to 14.1 million, driven by its low-cost branded smartphones. It also saw the number of active data users on the network increased 12.7% to 18.7 million customers.

“In South Africa, our network superiority has played a significant part in offering better value to our 34.2 million customers, 2.1 million up from last year. 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,” Shameel Joosub, Vodacom’s CEO said in a statement.

“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%”.

Vodacom expects highly competitive and regulatory and macroeconomic risks to persist in South Africa.

“The challenges in South Africa’s macro environment will continue to keep customer spend under pressure.”

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