2017 was a challenging year for South African telecommunications companies, with tough economic conditions, and political and regulatory uncertainty.
Despite this testing environment, Vodacom continued to grow revenue and increase its South African subscriber base to over 40 million.
“What this means is that our strategy of sustained and targeted investment in our network has paid off,” said Vodacom.
“So too is our quest of offering customers even greater value, and ultimately this translates into an enhanced experience for customers.”
2017 was also a year in which the company completed two major projects outside of South Africa.
Vodacom acquired a stake in Safaricom in Kenya, and was given the green light to list 25% of Vodacom Tanzania on the country’s stock exchange.
The Safaricom transaction is the largest in Vodacom’s history, which the company describes as “getting our hands on one of Africa’s prized assets”.
The Vodacom Tanzania listing is significant as it is the largest IPO in the history of Tanzania’s stock exchange.
Vodacom was also the first local mobile operator to announce the commercial availability of its NarrowBand-Internet of Things network.
“This holds great significance for IoT in South Africa, as the rollout of NB-IoT is expected to accelerate local IoT adoption rates,” said Vodacom.
Vodacom is currently averaging over 60,000 new IoT connections per month.
High mobile data prices made headlines in 2017, with consumers calling for reduced data prices and regulatory developments.
To address this, Vodacom is committed to transforming data prices in the new year.
Without additional spectrum, however, it will be challenging for it to drop prices and improve its network.
“We continue to invest significantly in infrastructure at a time when the lack of available spectrum means that input costs are being pushed higher.”
“It’s a simple equation: without new spectrum, we need to densify our networks – which includes building more base stations.”
“With spectrum, we can invest that money more efficiently and with it drive down communication costs.”