Mobile subscribers in South Africa – Vodacom vs MTN vs Telkom vs Cell C

Telkom recently published its financial results for the year ended 31 March 2020, which showed that it has experienced significant growth in mobile subscribers over the past year.

This has brought it closer to Vodacom and MTN in terms of subscriber numbers, and it has now drawn level with Cell C in terms of its customer base.

Telkom’s active mobile subscribers increased from 9.7 million in March 2019 to 12 million in March 2020 – an increase of 23.9% which comprised significant growth in both the prepaid and contract segments.

The company said it has invested heavily in its mobile network to expand coverage with an emphasis on 4G.

It increased its network investment by 22.1% to R3.7 billion over the last year, which helped it to significantly increase its number of base stations.

The expansion aligns with Telkom’s strategy of building a 4G and 4.5G data network to carry big volumes of data traffic.

“We refarmed a significant portion of the 1,800MHz spectrum and started refarming portions of 2,100 MHz for LTE and LTE-A,” Telkom said.

While Telkom has focused on the expansion of its 4G network, Vodacom and MTN have both begun rolling out 5G mobile networks.

Telkom maintains that its products offer the best value in its sector.

“Despite ongoing competitive threats with changes implemented by our competitors in the mobile space, our broadband-led propositions are market-leading, being best in class for value and effective pricing,” Telkom said.

The continued growth of Telkom’s subscriber base has brought it level with Cell C, and it is set to imminently wrest third place from the other network at its current rate of subscriber growth.

The comparison below shows the number of mobile subscribers on Vodacom, MTN, Telkom, and Cell C based on the latest available data for each network.

Mobile subscribers

To see the total mobile subscriber numbers in South Africa, we compared prepaid and postpaid subscribers counts from Vodacom, MTN, Cell C, and Telkom.

Vodacom’s annual results for the year ended 31 March 2020 showed it now has 41.3 million customers in South Africa, comprising 35.2 million prepaid and 6.1 million contract customers.

MTN’s quarterly trading update for the period ended 31 March 2020 reflected that it has a local mobile subscriber base of 25.8 million subscribers, comprising 22.7 million prepaid and 3.1 million postpaid customers.

Cell C’s latest financial results reflect 14.4 million South African customers, which works out to 12 million after deducting MVNO, business, wholesale, and broadband subscribers.

Telkom’s financial results for the year ended 31 March 2020 showed that it had a total of 12.0 million mobile subscribers.

Network Prepaid Postpaid Total
Vodacom 35.2 million 6.1 million 41.3 million
MTN 22.7 million 3.1 million 25.8 million
Cell C 10.9 million 1.1 million 12.0 million
Telkom 9.4 million 2.6 million 12.0 million

Now read: Telkom subscriber numbers – Everything is down, with one exception

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Mobile subscribers in South Africa – Vodacom vs MTN vs Telkom vs Cell C