The massive rise of mobile data in South Africa in 5 charts

Vodacom recently released it latest quarterly update, reporting tremendous growth in data traffic (45.7%) and data revenues (34.8%), underscoring that its big story is data.

The mobile operator also reported that its average effective price per MB of data decreased by 9.1% over the past year.

This average price is calculated by dividing the total data revenues by the amount of data used on the network over the same period.

While the operator does not release the exact figure for its average price per MB of data, it is possible to get an idea of how this figure has decreased over the years by choosing a year as a baseline and plotting the year-over-year decreases on a graph.

It is also interesting to look at this figure in the context of Vodacom’s increasing data revenue, active data subscribers, number of active smart devices, and the increase in average smartphone data usage over the years.


The average price per MB of data on Vodacom is almost 43% of what it was in June 2011.

Vodacom effective price per Megabyte - June 2015


The bars in the graph are the annual price decreases, while the line indicates the effective cumulative price decrease – using June 2011 as the base.


Despite this effective decrease in price, the significant increase in mobile data traffic has led to a considerable increase in data revenues.

Vodacom quarterly data revenue - June 2015



The amount of active (human) data subscribers has also risen from around 12 million in June 2012 to 17.7 million in June 2015.

Vodacom active data subscribers - June 2015



The number of active smartphones on Vodacom’s network has risen in step with the increase in data subscribers.

Vodacom active smart devices - June 2015



Most significantly, smartphone data usage on Vodacom’s network has increased from 84MB per month on average in September 2011, to 408MB in June 2015.

Vodacom average smartphone data usage - June 2015


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The massive rise of mobile data in South Africa in 5 charts