Vodacom has released its interim financial results for the last six months this morning, and there’s no shortage of good news for the company. The report is available here, but here’s a few interesting things we learned from it.

1 – Subscriber numbers are up

The results reveal that Vodacom’s subscriber numbers are up by as much as 5.7% year-on-year with as many as 35 million customers now on the network. This represents an additional 1.5 million net users joining Vodacom this year.

The largest chunk of that number is represented by pre-paid customers which grew to 30.6 million. In South Africa, that growth looks like this:


Vodacom customers appear to be buying a lot of data as well with data revenue now sitting at R9.8 billion which represents 38.8% of the network’s revenue.

“Active 4G customers on the network increased 88.9% to 3.6 million with the average monthly data usage on smart devices increasing 14.4% to 629MB.” Vodacom

Signally this data-centric user shift is the fact that voice revenue has declined 2.1% year-on-year locally to R11.6 billion. While internationally voice revenue is up around 5%, that didn’t seem to be enough to fend of a 0.2% decline in total voice revenue to R16.3 billion.

In fact, the only one of its key stats that’s in heavy decline is – unsurprisingly – revenues from messaging. Here’s what the revenues in its most important areas looks like.


What’s also interesting about that chart is that the fairly stagnant revenue from voice is comes at a time when voice traffic is increasing across the network: the value of a voice minute is dropping fast.


“Internet of things” connections are also up to from 2 million in 2015 to 2.6 million this year.

2 – Vodacom really needs you, South Africa

Ever wonder how important South Africa is to Vodacom? The jewel in its crown is South African contract customers. The average revenue per user (ARPU) in South Africa is valued at R110 while in countries such as the Tanzania ARPU sits at R39,80 (6032 Tanzanian Shillings). But that doesn’t tell the whole story. This does:


Remember that next time you negotiate a contract.

3 – Expensive phones aren’t selling

One area that has performed very well for Vodacom in the past but is struggling a little is equipment sales. Previously, this was the rising star in the company, as handset subsidies dropped and the firm made more money off each sale. As it points out in the report, however, “consumer spending remained under pressure and the pricing of devices was impacted by the weaker performance of the rand against foreign currency.”

High end handsets are expensive, resulting in falling revenues.


“Decrease in equipment revenue as a result of lower sales volumes as consumer spending remained under pressure and the pricing of devices was impacted by the weaker performance of the rand against foreign currency.” Vodacom