Vodacom not mobile-only: Joosub

Vodacom CEO, Shameel Joosub contends that the mobile operator has already become more than a mobile-only operator, adding that the group will have a larger geographic footprint and wider offerings in the years to come.

The CEO, who celebrates his first anniversary in charge of South Africa’s largest mobile company this month (September 2013), said: “Vodacom Business is already supplying fixed line connectivity to businesses, so to some extent it’s fair to say that we’re already not a mobile-only operator.”

“I’d expect in the coming 18-36 months to see the contribution from non-mobile activities increasing,” he said.

Joosub moved back to South Africa to take charge of Vodacom SA in September last year, following a stint as chief executive of Vodafone Spain.

Rating the group’s biggest achievements over the last 12 months, Joosub said: “A key achievement is the improvement in market share. We’ve consistently gained market share since September last year, driven by transforming the company to focus on three simple goals: best network, best value and best service.”

“We’ve also seen significant improvement in customer service with a 25% year on year reduction in calls to customer care and a big uplift in customer net promoter score.”

Shameel Joosub
Shameel Joosub

Spectrum

Joosub says that Vodacom’s biggest challenge locally lies in the availability of spectrum.

“Access to additional spectrum to cope with the over 60% year on year increase in data traffic is crucial.”

“On top of this, another challenge is balancing the inflationary environment, particularly fuel and electricity costs, with deflation in prices and continued network investment.”

Look North

Amid market saturation in South Africa, and increasing competition, BusinessTech asked Joosub if Vodacom was under pressure to grow its footprint as so many analysts have warned for so long.

“The existing international businesses are doing very well and have become an increasingly important profit contributor,” he said.

Vodacom has additional operations in Tanzania, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Mozambique and Lesotho.

“On top of that we’re of course keen to grow into new countries, but we will only do this at the right investment multiples. There’s no point in overpaying for an investment and not making adequate returns,” the CEO said.

Of competitiveness, he said this starts with the network – pointing out that Vodacom has spent R38 billion over the past five years, R28 billion of which has been in South Africa.

“Data and the International businesses are key growth drivers, and we’re also placing heavy emphasis on developing new revenue streams from business services and new consumer services. I think we’ll have a larger geographic footprint and wider offerings in the years to come,” he said.

In a recent television interview, Joosub said: “Its important to balance the portfolio…We are looking for new growth areas, both in South Africa and externally.

“There is still a lot of growth left in the Africa operations that we are in, but also to add a few more operations would be very beneficial so that we diversify some of our revenue away from South Africa.”

“At the same time there is opportunity in South Africa, for instance in enterprise…to capture more of the fixed space.”

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Vodacom not mobile-only: Joosub