Vodacom has released a trading update for the quarter ended 31 December 2017, with service revenue in South Africa growing by 4.9% to R14.1 billion.

“We continued to see strong customer growth, adding 1.6 million customers in the quarter as we attracted new customers through our bundle and segmentation strategy,” said Vodacom.

The big story was once again data, with data revenue growing by 8.7% to R6.0 billion – contributing 42.3% of service revenue.

The increased data revenue was made possible by strong customer growth and an increase in the use of data.

Data traffic growth on Vodacom’s South African network remains strong at 43.9%, although it was slightly down from the previous quarter.

The decline was a result of commercial steps taken by Vodacom to reduce free data usage, following the end of promotional offers during the quarter.

“Our bundle strategy continues to deliver growth, with in-bundle data revenue growth trends improving, supported by growth in bundle sales of 53.8%,” said Vodacom.

There was a slowdown in data revenue growth in the quarter, which was a result of lower out-of-bundle data revenues which followed Vodacom’s out-of-bundle price cuts.

Vodacom added that its overall effective price per megabyte for data was down 24.5% in the quarter.
Network investment

Vodacom said it continues to invest heavily into communication infrastructure in South Africa to increase the reach of its data and voice services, and to service the growing demand for data.

“During this quarter, our capital expenditure of R2.3 billion was focused on maintaining our best network advantage and enhancing our IT systems and deep learning machine capabilities,” said Vodacom.

The Vodacom network has now reached 77.6% 4G population coverage, while 3G covers 99.4% of the population.