Mobile subscribers compared – MTN vs Vodacom

MTN recently published its financial results for the year ended 31 December 2020, showing steady subscriber growth in South Africa.

The mobile network remains a top-two operator and is well ahead of Telkom and Cell C.

It falls behind Vodacom in the number of total subscribers, but it has held the title of the best network in South Africa for the past three years – making it a competitive option considering its similar data and contract pricing.

MTN saw service revenue grow by 1.9% in South Africa and 11.9% across the group over its last financial year.

“We continued to perform favourably against our medium-term targets,” said MTN Group CEO Ralph Mupita.

MTN also plans to invest approximately R29.1 billion in its network, fintech, and digital services platforms in 2021.

Mobile subscribers compared

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

MTN’s financial results for the year ended 31 December 2020 reflected that it has a local mobile subscriber base of 28.6 million subscribers, comprising 25.3 million prepaid and 3.3 million postpaid customers (excluding telemetry customers).

Vodacom’s trading update for the quarter ended 31 December 2020 showed it now has 44.3 million customers in South Africa, comprising 38.1 million prepaid and 6.2 million contract customers.

Cell C’s latest financial results reflect 9.3 million South African customers, which comprises 8.35 million prepaid customers and 968,000 contract customers.

Telkom’s financial results for the period ended 31 December 2020 showed that it had a total of 14.9 million mobile subscribers, comprising 12.3 million prepaid users and 2.6 million contract customers.

The table below shows the breakdown of mobile subscribers in South Africa, according to the latest information available.

Network Prepaid Postpaid Total
Vodacom 38.1 million 6.2 million 44.3 million
MTN 25.3 million 3.3 million 28.6 million
Cell C 8.35 million 968,000 9.3 million
Telkom 12.3 million 2.6 million 14.9 million

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Mobile subscribers compared – MTN vs Vodacom