Vodacom prepares for 5G rollout


Vodacom prepares for 5G rollout


Published Date: 2020-02-05 | Source: Stephen Gunnion | Author: Stephen Gunnion

Vodacom prepares for 5G rollout

The mobile network operator says a roaming agreement with Liquid Telecom means it can launch fifth generation wireless technology this year.

Vodacom plans to roll out 5G services in SA this year after launching in Lesotho last August. The fifth generation wireless technology will result in much faster download times for customers and will expand mobile networks to support more devices and services. Although 5G spectrum is largely unassigned in SA, Vodacom signed a roaming agreement with independent data provider Liquid Telecom late last year.

In a third-quarter trading update, the mobile network operator said a revised roaming deal with Rain, another data provider, would help it expand its 4G capacity in the meantime.

Increased uptake of its data contributed to a 4.6% rise in local service revenue to R13.6 billion in the three months to December despite continued downward pressure on data prices. International service revenue jumped 9% to R562 billion. It connected two million more customers over the quarter, contributing to a 6.6% rise in total group revenue to R23.6 billion. It now has over 117 million customers in total.

The group's operations outside South Africa now contribute over 40% to service revenue, supported by demand for data and its mobile money M-Pesa services. However, it said it was forced to disconnect 1.7 million customers in Tanzania as a result of customer registration requirements, which would impact its growth in that country in the short to medium term as it tried to register them biometrically.

After rising 2.7% in early trade, Vodacom's shares turned around to close 1% down at R116.32.


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