Vodacom free to spread its wings

13 Nov 2006

Vodacom has been freed by co-owner Vodafone to expand its operations out of southern Africa. The firm’s other shareholder, Telkom South Africa, has been calling for Vodafone to annul a long-standing agreement which has kept Vodacom from extending its reach across the continent, a strategy which left Vodafone free to explore its own interests in Africa. However, with Vodafone now seemingly content to stick with its current operations in Kenya and Egypt, it has agreed to let Vodacom increase its international footprint to any African country apart from these two. Vodacom is South Africa’s largest cellular operator, with 20.2 million subscribers at the end of September, while its international operations in Tanzania, Lesotho, Mozambique and the Democratic Republic of Congo serve a total of 5.6 million customers. There has been speculation that Vodacom has its sights set on entering Nigeria’s fast-moving cellular market.