How much money you would have if you invested R1,000 in Vodacom, MTN, or Telkom 10 years ago

South Africans who invested in Telkom in April 2012 would have substantially more money than those who bought shares in Vodacom and MTN.

That is according to a comparison of the share prices of the three biggest mobile networks in South Africa between 20 April 2012 and 20 April 2022.

Telkom has seen tremendous growth in its mobile business in the last few years, spurred by significant investments as its fixed-line copper products took a hit from the growing availability of fibre.

The company surpassed a struggling Cell C to become the third-largest mobile operator by subscribers towards the end of 2020.

As of the close of markets on 20 April 2022, a Telkom share on the JSE was worth R44.30 — around 93% more than the R23.00 it cost on 20 April 2012.

While this is a substantial increase from 10 years ago, it is some way off the highs it reached in 2019, before the Covid-19 pandemic struck.

In April 2019, a Telkom share was worth R84.20, 266% more than its price in April 2012.

The decline may be attributed to investors losing confidence in whether Telkom can sustain revenue growth, despite the solid performance of its mobile division.

The heavyweights

South Africa’s biggest mobile network operator — Vodacom — had the most stable performance when considering its minimum and maximum share values over the last ten years.

Its maximum price among the analysed data points was in April 2016, when it was trading at R168.00, while its minimum was R107.30 in April 2012.

Its share price was also the least impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020.

A Vodacom share cost R107.30 at market close on 20 April 2012 and R148.70 at market close on 20 April 2022 — an increase of 43.4%.

MTN’s share price is currently the highest of the three top operators, but has seen the least growth in the past decade.

Over the period we analysed, its share price moved radically, going from R134.10 in April 2012 and climbing to R225.00 in April 2015, before dropping to R43.40 in April 2020.

It then staged a remarkable comeback to R172.30 by 20 April 2022, an increase of about 28.49% compared to 10 years ago.

The graph below shows how Vodacom, MTN, and Telkom share prices changed between 20 April 2012 and 20 April 2022.

Each data point reflects the share price on 20 April of that year or the nearest date on which the markets were trading.

Using the increases in the share prices of the mobile networks, we calculated how much a R1,000 investment in each company would be worth today.

A Telkom investor would be glad to see their investment was worth around R1,926 on 20 April 2022.

But had that investor pulled out around the same time in 2019, they would have pocketed R3,670, scoring a profit of R2,670.

A Vodacom shareholding of R1,000 on 20 April 2012 would be worth R1,386 on 20 April 2022.

An MTN investment would only be worth about R285 more than in April 2012.

Nevertheless, regardless of which mobile network you invested in among these three, you would have more money than you started with a decade ago.

The table below shows how much a R1,000 investment in Vodacom, MTN, and Telkom on 20 April 2012 would be worth on 20 April 2022.

Vodacom vs MTN vs Telkom — 10-year investment return from April 2012 to April 2022
Company 2012 R1,000 investment value in 2022 Change
Vodacom R1,385.83 +38.58%
MTN R1,284.86 +28.49%
Telkom R1,926.09 +92.61%

Now read: South Africa’s networks had lower revenue growth than the IT sector last year

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How much money you would have if you invested R1,000 in Vodacom, MTN, or Telkom 10 years ago