Vodacom said on Tuesday that, thanks to its recently concluded roaming agreement with Liquid Telecom, it will launch next-generation 5G services in South Africa in 2020.
“Having been the first network to commercially launch 5G in Africa through Vodacom Lesotho, we expect to be able to launch 5G services in South Africa this year,” it said alongside a trading update for the three months ended 31 December 2019. “This is possible thanks to a recent roaming agreement with Liquid Telecom, as 5G spectrum is largely unassigned in South Africa.”
TechCentral reported in December that Vodacom and Liquid Telecom had signed an agreement which would, in effect, give the country’s biggest mobile operator access to a key spectrum band, allowing it to offer 5G services nationally, potentially pipping its nearest rivals to the post in deploying the super-fast next-generation technology.
The two companies signed the deal to exploit Liquid’s legacy spectrum assignment in the 3.5GHz band.
Vodacom said on Tuesday that it has also revised its roaming agreement with Rain for 4G/LTE coverage. This, it said, will “further expand our 4G capacity in an environment where delays in assigning available spectrum will constrain capacity for all networks”.
Vodacom Group increased its revenue by 6.6% (6.1% normalised) in the fourth quarter of the 2019 calendar year on the back of a successful summer campaign in South Africa and good growth in its international operations.
It added almost half a million customers in South Africa on the back of the campaign. In its other markets, it added 1.7 million customers.
Increased data uptake
South Africa revenue and service revenue growth rates improved to 5.9% and 4.6% respectively, supported by increased data uptake, it said. International operations delivered service revenue growth of 9% (7.1% normalised), with strong growth in data and M-Pesa mobile money revenues.
“Our sustained investment programme, aimed at delivering a better experience for customers in each of the countries where we operate, continues to yield results,” said group CEO Shameel Joosub in remarks alongside the trading update.
“As expected, growth trends improved across a number of metrics in South Africa following the significant impacts over the past year from our ongoing pricing transformation strategy. These included substantial cuts in out-of-bundle tariffs and lower bundle prices, resulting in a circa 50% decline in effective data prices since March 2016.” — © 2020 NewsCentral Media