Data boosts Vodacom Q3 earnings

The mobile carrier also gained customers to bring its total of active users across Africa to 56 million.

The mobile carrier also gained customers to bring its total of active users across Africa to 56 million. Picture: Dori van Loggerenberg/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - South African mobile carrier Vodacom said on Wednesday revenue in the third quarter rose by more than 10 percent after strong data sales.

The unit of Britain's Vodafone also gained 12.3 percent more customers to bring its total of active users across Africa to 56 million. It is fighting to maintain dominance in South Africa and increase its influence on the continent.

Revenue totalled R20.2 billion rand in the three months to end-December while data revenue jumped 40 percent to 3.6 billion rand.

Earnings could come under pressure this year after South Africa's telecommunications regulator halved the fees mobile phone companies can charge rivals to use their networks.

Vodacom may take the most pain from the move, given its dominance of the South African market and its reliance on contract customers, who tend to retain their contracts at cheaper rates.

Vodacom, which also has operations in Mozambique, Lesotho, Nigeria, Tanzania and the Democratic Republic of Congo, is also trying to muscle up on the continent, where it lags MTN and India's Bharti Airtel.

Last year, Vodacom said it would pay $250 million to raise its stake in its Tanzanian business to more than 82 percent.

Its shares are down 10 percent so far this year, after gaining about 7 percent in 2013.