Vodacom SA’s Move To Personalised Services Boosts Subscribers

Vodacom. Photo Credit: Vodacom
Vodacom. Photo Credit: Vodacom

Vodacom is tapping big data and machine learning technologies to boosts customer retention and acquisition.

This move has helped the company to deliver solid financial figures for the six months to end-September 2018 despite the South African being in recession.

South Africa entered recession in the second quarter for the first time since 2009, data showed on Tuesday, in a stinging blow to President Cyril Ramaphosa’s efforts to revive the economy after a decade of stagnation.

Vodacom, which is owned by British mobile phone giant, said on Monday it added 2.5 million new customers in South Africa.

The company added that underlying growth in its home market has weakened as the country’s economic slowdown increasingly weighs on consumer spending in the market.

Vodacom CEO Shameel Joosub. YouTube
Vodacom CEO Shameel Joosub. YouTube

That said, the company’s service revenue rose 4.6% as anticipatory measures driven by the use of big data machine learning in more areas of the business has contributed to countering some of these pressures.

“The 2.5 million increase in customers in South Africa since March, shows that our sustained effort to deliver greater value is working across prepaid and contract and is evidence that our personalisation through Big Data is delivering results,” said Shameel Joosub, Vodacom’s CEO.

The use of big data and machine learning technologies has helped the operator to cushion the impact of a recession.

However, Vodacom Group delivered a 13.5% drop in headline earnings per share (HEPS) to R3.85 for the six months to end-September, impacted by the new BEE deal in the current financial year, partially offset by contributions from Safaricom, acquired in the prior year.

Excluding these transactions, HEPS increased 6 %. HEPS is South Africa’s main profit gauge.

Joosub added that the company has invested R4 billion in South Africa alone in the past six months and at the same time it reduced effective voice and data prices by 8.5% and 16.4% respectively.

“We continue to accelerate our rural coverage expansion programme to bridge the digital divide and will prioritise an additional 200 villages this year to add to the 101 communities that we connected during the first quarter of this year,” he said.

Vodacom’s rival MTN is planning to offer more personalised products to meet the unique needs of its different customers through its MyMTNOffers service.


Four months ago, MTN revealed that these offers will be designed around the customers’ unique needs and offered directly to the customer, based on their location, usage, affordability and network capacity available. For more read: Battle For Customer Retention: MTN SA Promises Personalised Services

“Specialised offers, that provide customers with only the services, volume and content that customers desire, will increasingly be the norm, rather than generic bundles and pricing, to deliver services that our customers are asking for and making their lives brighter,” says Mapula Bodibe, MTN South Africa’s executive for Consumer Business.

Clearly, the battle for customer retention and acquisition is on in South Africa.


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