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 Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Vodacom saw a dip in the pace at which new customers are joining its network in South Africa, with 958,000 signing up in the past three months against 1.5-million just before Christmas a year ago.

The cellular operator is also seeing slower growth in its other operations, adding 519,000 new users in the third quarter to December to the previous December quarter's 870,000. Its biggest slowdown came in the Congo, where its subscribers inched up just 2.9%, well short of the 15% surge enjoyed a year ago. Its networks in Tanzania and Mozambique added fewer customers than they did in the third quarter of last year, with only its tiny network in Lesotho enjoying stronger growth to reach a total of 332,000 customers.

Vodacom is now serving 33-million people, up 4,7% since September, as it connected 4.8-million new users. But that growth is offset by their constant hopping between rival networks, so overall its user base rose by just 600,000 from 31.6-million in September. In South Africa, it now serves 24.2-million users, but its rate of growth fell to 4.1% from 7,3% a year ago.

Yet it remains well ahead of MTN, which claims 14-million users in SA, meaning Vodacom has an estimated 55.6% of South African users. MTN outstrips Vodacom overall, however, with 55 million customers throughout Africa and the Middle East.

Source: Balancing Act, from Business Day.