Vodacom expects to have as many as 25m of its group customers using data services in the next two years, from 9m now, as the mobile broadband boom continues.
In the financial year to 31 March 2011, the group grew the number of customers using data products by 35,5%. Data revenue reached R6,4bn.
“It’s a real growth engine for the business,” says Vodacom Group CEO Pieter Uys, adding that investment in broadband will be one of Vodacom’s top priorities for the year ahead.
Vodacom now has 3,6m smartphones on its network, up from 3,1m at the end of December last year. Uys says Vodacom is working with its parent company, the UK’s Vodafone, and other vendors to build an Android-powered smartphone costing less than US$100 to drive demand for Internet access.
Vodacom chief financial officer Rob Shuter says the group has earmarked R7,7bn for capital expenditure in the current financial year. Much of this money will go into building new 3G base stations as well as fibre access and backhaul networks.
The planned spend is about 25% higher than the R6,3bn it invested in the last financial year. — Candice Jones, TechCentral