South African mobile communications company, Vodacom, has reported a surge in data usage on its network, which was influenced by COVID19 regulations and restrictions as well as their price adjudgments which were a result of the negotiations with the Competition Commission. The adjustments raised the telco’s profit target by a large margin and influenced the mobile operator to build infrastructure to cope with the data use surge. However, the operator has alerted that further data pricing will be depended on the availability of the high-demand spectrum.
According to a telecoms analyst, the availability of the spectrum, which has been halted due to legal battle over communication authority, ICASA, Invitation-To-Apply (ITA), would assist operators in delivering a more cost-effective service. The service carried out through the use of the spectrum would increase the operators’ cost competitiveness and lower data prices.
Vodacom has recently partnered with China’s Alipay and will soon launch a new lifestyle app called VodaPay, highlighting their demand more spectrum as they grow their customer base. The operator said they had added 8.2 million customers, taking its customer base to 123.7 million across Africa. Its financial services customers, including Safaricom, increased by 6.6 million, bringing the customer base to 57.7 million.
Although growth is positive, Vodacom CEO Shameel Joosub said that the assignment of the high-demand spectrum would be instrumental to data pricing. He then emphasised that the allocation of the temporary spectrum had been vital in support of network capacity and further stressed the urgent need for the high-demand spectrum.