The South African market broke through the 100% penetration barrier during Q3 08 to finish the quarter on 101.8%. The total market reached 44.51m customers. Annual growth slowed from 24.2% for the 12 months ending 30th September 2007 to 10.7% for the subsequent 12 months, the lowest rate since Q2 02. However, this rate was the same as that recorded in Q2 08, and in real terms annual growth rose quarter-on-quarter, from 4.18m to 4.30m.
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Source: Cellular News.
Vodacom remains the market leader in South Africa, and it reversed two quarters of net losses with a quarterly gain of 0.32m connections in Q3 08. However, this was the lowest figure in the market Ė the fourth time in a row it has picked up this dubious honour. Moreover, its third-quarter gain was not enough to compensate for the previous losses, with a resultant year-on-year decline of 24k. It finished Q3 with 22.48m and 50.5% market share, down from 56.0% a year earlier.
Nevertheless, it remains over 6m ahead of nearest rival MTN, which finished on 16.2m. MTN added 0.58m in the quarter, the best figure in the market, and 2.10m annually. However, Cell C topped the market for annual net additions with a figure of 2.23m, and it was also the fastest growing operator in proportionate terms with an annual growth rate of 61.5%. It recorded 0.46m net additions in the quarter. In total, the number of mobile connections in South Africa increased by 1.36m in the quarter, an improvement on the 1.23m recorded in Q3 07.
Cell C does not report an ARPU figure, but MTN and Vodacom both saw year-on-year gains to their cumulative averages. MTN was up by ZAR 1 to ZAR 147, while Vodacom gained 10.9% to ZAR 132. This was partly due to a change in definition, from excluding to including roaming fees, although even without this change there would almost certainly have been a significant increase. The increased uptake of 3G services is undoubtedly a factor in the ARPU gains, with 7.7% of Vodacomís customer base using W- CDMA (up 3.5pp year on year) and 9.4% of MTNís (up 4.4pp)