Vodacom vs MTN: best and worst mobile network in South Africa

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Original Article: http://mybroadband.co.za/

Research ICT Africa has released its second policy brief for 2016, comparing the market share and strategic positioning of South Africa’s major mobile operators.

It found that as of the end of 2015, Vodacom held 37.7% of the market, followed by MTN at 35.9% and Cell C at 23%.

Telkom Mobile is the smallest mobile network operator, with 2.6% of the market.

This places it in a position as the latest entrant to undercut the larger operators and win subscribers, said Research ICT Africa.

Market share

The table below summarises the market share of Vodacom, MTN, Cell, and Telkom, as at the end of 2015 – based on a BusinessTech article.

Mobile operator market share
Operator Number of subscribers Market share
Vodacom 32.12 million 37.7%
MTN SA 30.55 million 35.9%
Cell C 19.6 million 23.0%
Telkom 2.19 million 2.6%
MVNOs 650,000 0.8%
MTN’s financial year end is 31 December, therefore its market share is overestimated.

Competitor strategic positioning

Research ICT Africa found that Vodacom offers users a high-quality premium-cost business model, charging higher prices for quality of service – where it is the market leader.

Cell C has embraced over-the-top services like WhatsApp, choosing to use it to create products that stimulate demand.

It has also priced itself competitively and appeals to cost-sensitive consumers – offering the highest value.

Telkom Mobile is taking charge of the postpaid segment.

Through month-to-month contracts and high contract value, Telkom boasts a faster postpaid growth rate than any other operator.

It also offers the lowest data prices in the country, but is not winning subscribers in the prepaid market.

MTN, which the report said has been complacent for the past few years, is turning the corner.

It has innovated in some parts of its prepaid segment.

While MTN’s prepaid subscriber numbers grew at a faster rate than Vodacom’s, it lost 200,000 postpaid customers in the past year.

“Its large investment outlay is a sign of its commitment to improved service and technology, but an inspection shows it has played catch-up with Vodacom.”

The table below details the operators’ strategies.

Competitor Strategy Analysis Operator
Criteria Vodacom MTN Cell C Telkom
Response to OTT Weak Weak Industry leader Moderate
Zero-rated service offerings Fair Innovative Innovative Moderate
Pricing Fair Fair Industry leader Innovative
Proritising Customer Experience Management Industry leader Moderate Moderate Moderate
Service personalisation Industry leader Fair Moderate Fair
Network quality of service Industry leader Moderate Weak Moderate