MTN has continued to lose market share in prepaid in South Africa in the past six months, despite slashing its headline voice tariff to 79c/minute, new numbers published by Blue Label Telecoms suggest.
Blue Label is South Africa’s largest distributor of prepaid airtime, but co-CEO Brett Levy emphasises that the figures, which show Cell C gaining ground on MTN, are not a total view of what is happening in South Africa’s mobile market.
“It’s not exact, but it is close to what is happening in the market,” says Levy. “This is definitely reflective of the market.”
In the period June to November 2014, which coincides with the first six months of Blue Label’s 2015 financial year, Cell C’s rand value of outgoing prepaid airtime sales climbed to 21%, from 17% in the same period in 2013.
MTN, on the other hand, lost significant ground, at least in the Blue Label universe, falling from 32% in the second half of calendar 2013 to 27% in the second half of 2014.
Sequentially — from December 2013 to May 2014, to June to November 2014 — MTN’s share of the market, as measured by Blue Label airtime sales, fell from 29% to 27%. But Levy says this decline “seems like a bigger number than it is”.
Cell C has “definitely had an impact” on the market in the past 12 months, he says. “MTN definitely came back in the middle of last year. Its new campaigns got stronger…”
Over the same period, Vodacom has maintained its rand value market share at 50%, while Telkom’s share of the market has risen from 1% to 2%.
“Telkom has picked up in the past six to eight months,” says Levy.
“This year is going to be interesting,” he says. “In my opinion, you will see difference in market across the board of all three networks. When we end in December, the percentages we see today will not be the same [as they are now]. There’s too much happening in the market at the moment. It’s changing daily, literally.”
Meanwhile, Bloomberg reported on Wednesday that Cell C’s shareholders are exploring the possibility of a sale of the mobile operator. The news wire said Cell C, which is controlled by Oger Telecom, is working with Goldman Sachs on the review. — (c) 2015 NewsCentral Media