Mobile operators spend billions to fight for market share

Analytico’s 2022 South African Mobile Data Market Report shows that Vodacom and MTN had spent over R20 billion on their mobile networks over the last year.

Analytico is a research company that provides research reports, network intelligence, and marketing insights to South African ICT companies.

The 2022 South African Mobile Data Market Report gives an overview of the local mobile data market.

South Africa has a competitive mobile data market with five network operators and numerous mobile virtual network operators.

These operators compete for a slice of the country’s R53 billion mobile data market.

According to Icasa’s 2022 State of ICT Sector Report, mobile data revenue increased from R30 billion in 2015 to R53 billion in 2021.

Vodacom, MTN, Telkom, Rain, and Cell C serve over 62 million mobile data customers in South Africa.

Vodacom is the largest operator with 23.5 million mobile data users, followed by MTN with 17.7 million, Telkom with 10.7 million, and Cell C with approximately 10 million.

Rain remains significantly smaller than the rest, with only a few hundred thousand mobile data customers.

Despite the strong growth, there is still a lot of growth left in the South African mobile data market as more people get smart devices.

Over the past year, the number of smart devices on Vodacom’s South African network increased by 13.1% to 26.2 million. The number of 4G devices increased by 14.1% to 17.9 million.

To ensure they maintain their lead in the mobile data market, Vodacom and MTN invest significantly more than their competitors in their networks.

In the last financial year, Vodacom Invested R11.1 billion in its network, while MTN invested R10.4 billion. Telkom’s mobile capital expenditure, in comparison, was only R2.8 billion.

Cell C spent even less than Telkom on its network. Over the last five years, Cell C’s capital expenditure was only R4 billion.

Cell C’s low Capex is a result of its strategy to discontinue its radio access network and piggyback on MTN’s and Vodacom’s networks.

This strategy has helped it to cut its network investment from R2.3 billion to R195 million per year.

The full 2022 South African Mobile Data Market Report is available from Analytico.


Now read: Telkom Mobile makes less money — wants to be cheaper than Vodacom and MTN

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Mobile operators spend billions to fight for market share