DURBAN – Vodacom’s share price declined by more than 7 percent at one stage on the JSE yesterday, after it reported a surprise slowdown in its South African service revenue growth due to weak consumer spend as competition for market share heats up.
In a trading update for the third quarter to end December, the mobile operator, which competes with Cell C, MTN and Telkom, said South African revenue decreased by 0.9 percent to R13.9 billion. However, Vodacom’s group revenue was up by 1.5 percent to R23bn, while international revenue increased by 13.2 percent to R5.2bn.
Vodacom chief executive Shameel Joosub said a strong performance in its international operations helped to offset the slowdown in South Africa during the quarter, with improved trends in Tanzania and strong growth in Mozambique and the DRC.
“Growth in revenue and service revenue at a group level increased by 1.5 percent and 2.4 percent, respectively. Excluding Safaricom, we added 198 000 customers in the three-month period and now serve 79 million across the group, having added a healthy 5.2 million customers to the Vodacom network in the past year,” Joosub said.
In South Africa Vodacom said its customer numbers were up 5.4 percent. It gained 86 000 contract customers to 5.6 million, up 5.7 percent year-on-year.