Vodacom’s data revenue in South Africa contributed 42.6% of its total service revenue, according to its latest 6-month results.
Data revenue grew 15.0% to R11.4 billion in the period, which was slightly down in Q2 as a result of a strong comparative quarter and the introduction of promotions.
Voice revenue declined by 4.8% to R11.1 billion, which means Vodacom’s data revenue has overtaken voice revenue.
What is impressive is that this was accomplished while the effective price per MB has declined by 24% during the period.
Speaking to BizNews, Vodacom CEO Shameel Joosub said they are also reducing out-of-bundle data prices.
Voice is not dead
Joosub said that while data revenue is showing strong growth, and voice revenue is under pressure, voice is not dead for Vodacom.
He said people continue to talk on their cellphones, but the way in which voice traffic is carried is changing.
“Voice is becoming a packet over a data network, but people will always talk,” said Joosub.
He said voice continued to expand during the last reporting period, albeit not at the same rate as in the past.
Joosub said the use of voice-over-IP services, like WhatsApp, is an indication that people are not getting the right prices for voice services.
Vodacom has launched bundles to make voice services more affordable to combat this, and these products are doing well.
Even with lower voice rates, however, Joosub expects WhatsApp and other VoIP calling services to continue to enjoy support.
He sees the use and growth of VoIP calling as “completely acceptable”, and believes customers should have the freedom to choose the voice service they use.