JOHANNESBURG - Mobile phone company Vodacom said on Tuesday its service revenue growth, excluding currency translation effects, was up 5.2 percent in the quarter ended June 30, while 2.5 million customers were added.

In South Africa alone, Vodacom added 1.5 million new customers during the quarter, raising the customer base across the group to 76.5 million. Group data revenue increased 9.9 percent.

"The strong momentum from our annual results has carried Vodacom into a pleasing first quarter," group CEO Shameel Joosub said.

"In South Africa, despite a tougher economic environment, we grew service revenue by 4.9 percent, supported by customer growth of 9.5 percent to reach 43.1 million customers."

Joosub said this growth had been driven by Vodacom's ‘Big Data’ led innovations, which contributed to robust demand for personalised bundles, offering customers better value for money. 

He said the company remained focused on network investment as a key competitive differentiator, expanding our 4G coverage to 81.5 percent, up from 75.9 percent a year ago.

Vodacom said it expected implementation of end-user subscriber charter regulations by regulator ICASA in relation to out-of-bundle usage, to have a modest impact on data revenue growth.

The regulations prohibit service providers from charging subscribers for out-of-bundle usage without consent, and compel them to offer the ability to roll over unused data, among other requirements.

"We expect this to be mitigated in the short term by continued uptake of data bundles and strong elasticity in demand for these services," said Joosbu.

- African News Agency (ANA)