Cell C reveals new subscriber numbers

South African mobile operator Cell C says it has grown its subscriber base by an additional 1.5 million in the past three months to 18.1 million at 30 June 2014.

Cell C also reported year-on-year service revenue growth of 10.5% for Q2, 2014 driven by a 59% rise in subscriber growth.

The group confirmed on Friday that it will extend the maturity date of Euro 160 million (R2.26 billion) of senior debt.

As a part of the transaction, Cell C, said it has offered to buy back debt from any bond holder who does not wish to extend.

“The expected extension is further confirmation of the confidence that funders have in the future of Cell C and will enable Cell C to continue to invest heavily in its network infrastructure in support of its business plan,” the group said.

“The extension will allow Cell C to channel equity and cash generated in the business to increase its capacity to continue to grow the company,” said Jose Dos Santos, Cell C CEO.

In May,  South Africa’s third mobile operator said it signed up a record 1.6 million new subscribers in March 2014, taking its total subscriber base to 16.6 million.

Cell C said it had 13.6 million subscribers by the end of 2013, with a net addition of 3.5 million users during the year.

Dos Santos said that the group’s capex forecast for 2014 is at R2.3 billion in 2014.

He defended the firm’s financial position, which has come under question in recent times. He said that  far back as 2009 Cell C has been under pressure from the media about its survival. “From 2009, when speculation started, we have still survived,” he said.

“In 2013, we received an injection of R2.6 billion, with a further injection of R1.5 billion in 2014 so far,” Dos Santos said.

In a quarterly update on Thursday, rival operator Vodacom, reported a local subscriber base of 32.5 million.

In April, MTN reported that its South African operation reduced subscriber numbers by 824,768, bringing total subscribers to 24.9 million for the period ended March 2014.

Telkom’s mobile business has 1.8 million subscribers, as reported in June.

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Cell C reveals new subscriber numbers