After a poor first quarter in which there was a net loss of 0.63m customers, the South African market managed positive growth in Q2 with a gain of 0.82m. This took the total customer base to 43.15m, equivalent to a penetration rate of 98.5%. In annual terms, growth stood at 10.7%, less than half the 22.5% recorded in the prior twelve months and, moreover, the lowest rate for six years.
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Quarterly Net Additions by Operator
Vodacom continues to dominate the South African market with an end- quarter total of 22.16m customers, almost 6.6m more than its nearest rival MTN. However, it suffered a net loss to its subscriber base for the second successive quarter, shedding 0.11m customers. This was an improvement on Q1, which saw a decline of 0.79m, but it was nonetheless a disappointing result. With MTN continuing to make steady gains to its customer base, Vodacom’s lead was down 1.8m year on year and in terms of market share it slipped 4.9pp to 51.4%, its lowest figure since Q4 04. It added just 0.21m customers in the year, representing a proportionate growth rate of 0.9%. MTN also saw a decline in growth compared to the prior twelve months, its growth rate falling from 28.4% to 14.6%. However, unlike its rivals it has managed to record net gains to its subscriber base in each of the past four quarters, with a total annual gainthof 1.99m. Although this was well below the 3.01m recorded in the year to 30 June 2007, it was still the highest figure in the market.
Cell C claimed the highest quarterly gain, however, with 0.51m to MTN’s 0.42m. It finished Q2 with 5.40m and market share of 12.5%, up 3.7pp year on year. In real terms the annual gain was 1.98m, only just short of MTN’s figure. Moreover, Cell C was the only South African operator to record an increase in growth compared to the prior twelve months, its annual rate rising 31.2pp to an impressive 57.9%.
The South African market is dominated by GSM, but the W-CDMA base more than doubled year on year to 2.86m. This represents 6.6% of the country’s total customer base.
Source: Cellular News.