EXCLUSIVE VIDEO: South African market leader Vodacom has warned against the prospect of new operators joining the country’s competitive mobile market. With four players – Vodacom, MTN, Cell C and Telkom’s 8ta – already battling it out in a saturated market, Vodacom’s Chris Ross told Mobile World Live that too much competition may not necessarily be a positive move for the market. “Ultimately it needs to have a commercial viability and I think if you look in the data world, in the fixed line space there’s a proliferation of little organisations that are out selling internet and so on and it’s not always good for the industry when you have too much competition at very different levels,” said Ross, Vodacom’s managing executive for commercial development. He noted, however, that consumers benefit from “competition driving pricing down.” South Africa is expected to allocate LTE spectrum next year, a process that could see the emergence of new players.
Ross added that the success of mobile broadband services in South Africa has seen non-mobile players attempting to compete in the data space: “We compete now for the same target audience as the fixed line providers.” Vodacom was first to launch 3G services in the country and, according to Wireless Intelligence, has 10 percent of its customer base using HSPA services. “The only computer experience that many South Africans will have is in that mobile device that they have in their hands. Having data access has been absolutely critical,” commented Ross. View the full interview here.