• Vodafone launches Africa.Connected campaign to bridge the digital divide, while Joosub clears things up regarding Ghana in Q3 results.

Elsewhere in Vodafone Africa

Elsewhere in Vodafone Africa

Source: Lucas Metz / Unsplash

  • Safaricom, VodacomGroup, and Vodafone collaborated to launch the Africa.Connected campaign. It aims to help close Africa’s ‘digital divide’ by accelerating joint initiatives between business, industry, and government. Vodacom Group Chief Executive (CEO) Shameel Joosub, in a column for CityPress, said the campaign was launched because “public–private partnerships are crucial to accelerate development”.
  • Communications equipment owned by Vodacom and South African telco peer MTN was targeted by conspiracy theorists, reportedly fuelled by a belief that 5G technology is linked to the COVID‑19 outbreak. A Vodacom spokesperson said the vandalism had “little to no impact” on its network.
  • Joosub confirmed reports that the “VodaConsortium” is planning to make a joint bid for entry into the Ethiopian market. The CEO flagged that the consortium will be led by Safaricom, which will hold a 51% stake, and supported by Vodacom, with a 5.7% holding. The Ethiopian Communications Authority (ECA) is auctioning off two “full service mobile telecommunications licences” and offloading its 45% stake in incumbent Ethio Telecom (Vodafonewatch, passim). The ECA denied a claim from Safaricom CEO Michael Joseph that the consortium had been shortlisted. ECA Director General Balcha Reba instead confirmed that the deadline for applicants had been pushed back to 5 April 2021, with winners expected to be announced in May 2021.
  • Speaking at its results call for the quarter to 31 December 2020, Joosub dismissed reports that Vodacom was considering acquiring VodafoneGhana (Vodafonewatch, #193). Vodacom currently oversees the Ghanaian OpCo “on Vodafone’s behalf”, but Joosub said an acquisition is “not part of our plans”.
  • Joosub offered an update on Vodacom’s Internet of Things (IoT) subsidiary IoT.nxt. The IoT management platform provider has seen “really nice uptake” by Vodafone Germany, Vodafone UK, and VodafoneZiggo, he disclosed, with services being sold outside of the Group “as far afield as California” (Vodafonewatch, #188, #191–#192, and passim). Joosub predicted that, given growth in the number of SIM cards locally and in other markets, Vodacom’s IoT business will contribute a “more meaningful number” going forward.
  • Volaris Group communications and media subsidiary LumineGroup acquired Vodacom vendor VAS‑X. VAS‑X provides billing, customer management, and fulfilment services to communications service providers, including Vodacom, since its first contract in 2000. Volaris has pursued an aggressive acquisition strategy in recent years, having picked up another Vodacom service provider, Collab, in 2020 (Vodafonewatch, #185).