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South Africa’s Vodacom drops Neotel deal on regulatory hurdles

Comments (0) Africa, Business, Latest Updates from Reuters

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – South Africa mobile operator Vodacom on Monday dropped a planned acquisition of local fixed line operator Neotel, citing regulatory complexities.

“It is disappointing that we have reached this conclusion despite all our efforts to find a way to deal with the complexities of the restructured transaction,” said Vodacom Chief Executive Shameel Joosub.

Vodacom, a unit of Britain’s Vodafone, had offered $500 million to Neotel owner, India’s Tata Communications, in 2014 but was forced to rework it after regulators raised anti-trust issues.

Under the modified deal, announced in December, Vodacom would have bought assets related to Neotel’s fixed-line business but not its frequency spectrum – which the Competition Commission’s said would have given Vodacom an unfair advantage in rolling out a high-speed 4G network.

South Africa is in the midst of switching its television signal to digital from analogue, a move that would free up much-needed airwaves as consumers increasingly use smartphones to browse the internet and download applications.


(Reporting by TJ Strydom; Editing by Tiisetso Motsoeneng and Joe Brock)

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South Africa’s Vodacom lifts H1 profit on data boom

Comments (0) Africa, Business, Latest Updates from Reuters

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – South African mobile phone operator Vodacom on Monday reported a 6 percent rise in half-year profit, buoyed by sharp growth in data revenue.

The South African unit of Britain’s Vodafone has spent billions to expand its network in recent years with a strong focus on providing faster internet to its customers as more of them get smartphones.

“We’re becoming more of a big data provider, an internet provider if you like,” Vodacom Group Chief Executive Shameel Joosub said in a conference call with reporters.

The company said headline earnings per share – the main profit measure in South Africa and strips out certain one-off items – rose to 440 cents from 415 cents, in the six months ended Sept. 30.

Data revenue was up 33.5 percent as Vodacom increased 4G coverage in its home market, the company said.

“In South Africa, LTE/4G coverage increased from 32.2 percent to 46.8 percent,” said Joosub.

Customers that have access to 4G have increased to nearly 2 million in Africa’s most advanced economy and they use almost three times more data than those stuck with lower speeds, Joosub said in a statement released with the results.

The company is forming partnerships with content providers to get its customers to consume more videos and music on smart devices as it tries to rake in more data revenue.

“We need to play more in the content space,” Joosub said.

Vodacom’s smartphone users consume around 425 MB of data per month, compared to 2 GB in the U.S. and Britain which Joosub sees as an opportunity for growth.

Shares in Vodacom were up 1.5 percent to 150.73 rand by 0755 GMT.


(Reporting by TJ Strydom; Editing by James Macharia, Reuters)

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