Home Science Technology Vodacom Dominates South African Mobile Market, Outperforming Rivals

Vodacom Dominates South African Mobile Market, Outperforming Rivals

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Vodacom
Vodacom

Vodacom has significantly outperformed its competitors MTN, Telkom, and Cell C in subscriber growth and revenue in South Africa over the past year, according to a report by MyBroadband.

Subscriber Growth and Market Share

The report compared changes in subscriber numbers among the four largest mobile networks in South Africa from December 2022 to December 2023. Vodacom emerged as the clear leader, adding 6.59 million customers—a 14.8% increase—bringing its total to 49.53 million subscribers.

MTN, Vodacom’s main competitor, added fewer than one million subscribers, growing by 2.4% from 36.54 million to 37.43 million. Consequently, MTN’s market share declined from 33.1% to 32.0%.

Telkom, the third-largest network, saw a 6.4% increase in subscribers, adding approximately 1.18 million new customers and nudging its market share from 16.8% to 16.9%.

In contrast, Cell C experienced a significant decline, with its subscriber base shrinking from around 10.6 million in December 2022 to 8.5 million by November 2023.

The overall mobile subscriber base across these four networks increased from 110.37 million to 116.93 million during the year.

Market Share Breakdown

Vodacom: 49.53 million subscribers, 43.8% market share

MTN: 37.43 million subscribers, 32.0% market share

Telkom: 18.88 million subscribers, 16.9% market share

Cell C: 8.5 million subscribers, market share declined

Financial Performance Indicators

While Vodacom achieved substantial subscriber growth, its average revenue per user (ARPU) dropped by 12.8% between its 2022/2023 and 2023/2024 financial years. Conversely, MTN saw a marginal increase in its ARPU from R94.20 to R94.63, indicating that the subscribers it added were on average more valuable in terms of revenue than those added by Vodacom.

Competitive Landscape

Vodacom’s market share of 43.8% brings it close to being considered a dominant firm under South African competition laws, which define dominance as holding at least a 45% market share.

However, subscriber growth should not be assessed in isolation. The ease of acquiring SIM cards in South Africa, often for low-consumption applications like Internet-of-Things (IoT) devices, means that not all new subscribers necessarily generate substantial revenue.

Leadership

Vodacom’s superior performance and expansion in subscriber base underscore its competitive edge in the South African mobile market. Despite a decline in ARPU, the company’s strategic investments and customer acquisition efforts have solidified its leading position.

As the South African mobile market continues to evolve, Vodacom’s significant growth trajectory positions it as the dominant player, closely followed by MTN. The ongoing competition between these telecom giants will likely drive further innovations and improvements in service offerings, benefitting consumers across the country.

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