Vodacom’s capital expenditure in South Africa jumped by 11.1% year on year in the six months ended 30 September 2021, pushing spending on its network to R5.6-billion from R5-billion a year ago.
The increased spending comes after significant investments by MTN, its principal rival in the South African market, in recent years.
That investment by MTN has significantly improved the quality of its network and it now regularly is placed first in independent network performance benchmarks.
Vodacom said it accelerated network spending to take advantage of a stronger rand during the period. The money was spent on “improving capacity and resilience of the network and increasing 5G roll-out”, the company said. “We now have 97,7% 4G population coverage (from 96.4% a year ago) and have extended our 5G sites to 521.”
Vodacom Group CEO Shameel Joosub said R47-billion has been spent on the group’s South African network in the past five years.
“Our investment focused on network capacity and modernisation, and enhancing our IT platforms,” it said. “We expected capital expenditure (in South Africa) of R10.5-billion for the financial year, implying lower capital expenditure in the second half compared to the first half.”
Vodacom, by contrast, cut capex spending in its international operations by 12.9% to R1.3-billion. Group capex was R6.9-billion, representing 13.9% of revenue.