Vodacom strengthened its grip on the South African mobile market in the second quarter of the year, ending June with 14.3 million active subscribers in the country, increasing the gap between itself and rival MTN to almost six million users. MTN increased its customer base by 5.1% to 8.4 million in the three months to 30 June 2005, but its growth was dwarfed by the 11.2% increase reported by Vodacom. Vodacom also reported that it now has nearly 30,000 subscribers to its 3G service. The cost of competition harmed both operators, as Vodacom’s 2Q blended ARPU fell 8% to ZAR150 (USD22.59) a month, whilst MTN reported ARPU of ZAR169, down from ZAR184 in the first quarter. Vodacom and MTN now both use the same definition of an ‘active subscriber’, counting such a user as someone who has made or received a revenue-generating call within a 90-day period.
Despite falling further behind in its home market, MTN remains the largest mobile group in Africa with a total customer base of close to 18 million across the continent at the end of June, up 8.9% over the previous quarter. Most impressively it reported a 14.4% jump in subscribers at its Nigerian operations in the period. The figure was also boosted by the subscribers of MTN’s recently acquired Ivory Coast operator Loteny Telecom. Vodacom now has 17.2 million customers in Africa, with operations in Tanzania, Lesotho, DRC and Mozambique alongside its SA business.