Delivering on our strategy

Vision 2020: Our strategy

Our vision is to be a leading digital company that empowers a connected society

  • We will disrupt through technology while delivering world-class digital solutions.
  • We will remove barriers to access as we evolve to the gigabit society, while transforming education, healthcare, financial services and agriculture.
Empowering the digital lives of our customers
Connecting everybody to live a better today and build a better tomorrow
Strategic objective   How we measure
  Goal to
31 March 2020
  Performance at
31 March 2018
Segmented Propositions  Click here   Service revenue growth rate (%)   Mid-single digit   3.4%  
Segmented Propositions   Revenue contribution (%) from digital services (IoT, infotainment, advertising)   5.0%   3.2%  
We develop a deep insight of our customers’ needs, wants and behaviours, and provide propositions to lead in chosen segments.        
Best Customer Experience  Click here   Net promoter score (NPS)   #1 in all markets   #1 in all markets  
Best Customer Experience   Digital NPS   #1 in all markets   not yet measured  
We provide a seamless, frictionless, personalised, digital experience to our customers.        
Best Technology
 Click here   Network NPS   #1 in all markets   #1 in all markets
#2 in Tanzania
Best Technology        
We are the leading telco through the best network and IT excellence, with digital at the core.        
Digital Organisation and Culture  Click here   Employee Engagement Index   80   78  
Digital Organisation and Culture   Employee Digital Index   80   77  
We build an organisation of the future where digital is first for all employees, underpinned by innovation, agility and new skills.        
Our Brand and Reputation  Click here   Brand leadership position   #1 in South Africa   #1 in South Africa  
Our Brand and Reputation   Reputation survey   #1 in all markets   #1 in all markets  
We are a purpose-driven brand with a deserved reputation for accelerating socioeconomic transformation by empowering the digital lives of our customers.        


Achieving these ambitions, requires us to
  • Optimise value from our existing telco activities – ensuring we get the basics right to realise the significant remaining value from the latent demand across our markets.
  • Diversify and transform the business by growing into adjacent businesses in the digital space – delivering on our strategic big bets to become a leading digital company.
  • Develop the capabilities and skills to become the leading digital company – investing appropriately in our strategic enablers to drive digital transformation and deliver exceptional customer service
Our strategic big bet

Delivering on our strategy – 2017 at a glance
  •   Sustained strong performance in M-Pesa, the world’s leading mobile money provider.
  •   Good early growth in financial services in our South African market.
  •   Consolidated our strong potential to deliver in IoT.
  •   Progress in building a good team in Big Data analytics.
  •   Positive developments in each of our segmented propositions.
  •   Maintained strong reputation across our markets.
  •   Secured strong mutually-beneficial partnerships with leading global digital players.
  •   Ongoing challenge in ensuring internal organisational culture shift to fully embrace digital.
  •   Initial progress in establishing Vodacom as a work destination of choice for new skills, especially in Big Data.
  •   Missed growth targets in Consumer content as a result of unanticipated change in suppliers.
  •   Scaling fixed/fibre remains a challenge in a very dynamic market.
  •   Delays in 4G licences in International markets hindering data acceleration opportunity.
  • Segmented Propositions

    Segmented Propositions

    We develop a deep insight of our customers’ needs, wants and behaviours, and provide propositions to lead in chosen segments.

  • Best Customer Experience

    Best Customer Experience

    We provide the most engaging customer experience, blending the best of technology and human interaction in a personal, instant and easy way.

  • Best Technology

    Best Technology

    We are the leading telco through the best network and IT excellence, with digital at the core.

  • Digital Organisation and Culture

    Digital Organisation and Culture

    We build an organisation of the future where digital is first for all employees, underpinned by innovation, agility and new skills.

  • Our Brand and Reputation

    Our Brand and Reputation

    We are a purposedriven brand cementing our reputation for accelerating socioeconomic transformation by empowering the digital lives of our customers.

Segmented Propositions

Segmented Propositions

Segmented Propositions

We develop a deep insight of our customers’ needs, wants and behaviours, and provide propositions to lead in chosen segments.

Segmental Propositions
Vodacom Vision 2020

We deepen our understanding of customers’ needs, and provide compelling propositions to meet these needs. We:

Lead in targeted segments by using Big Data analytics.

Monetise mobile data through targeted Consumer digital offerings.

Drive Enterprise growth through digital and solution sales, and IoT.

Leading in targeted segments

We have made good progress this year in building and monetising the base through our segmented propositions in the following areas:

  • Youth (Vodacom NXT LVL): Over the last year, we grew our Youth customer market share significantly, doubling the number of customers on NXT LVL to three million, with stronger ARPU uplift and more data usage. Customer appreciation remains healthy as we maintain our top position on Youth NPS with a healthy margin. Our affinity building communications, mostly delivered through the NXT LVL TV show – which sought to enable youth to their NXT LVL through a music show format – was a number one trend on social media through the 10-week duration of the show.
  • Emerging Segment (Vodacom Siyakha): Focused on low-income customers in the emerging prepaid segment, our Siyakha platform facilitates digital inclusion through affordable price packages, entry-level smartphones, and targeted offers and content. Siyakha has been focusing on four pillars: social connectivity, health, education and jobs. Our Mum and Baby service, launched in March 2017, has shown particularly encouraging uptake with more than one million customers benefiting in the year; paving the way to build on this success and deepen our focus on women as a segment. We celebrated Siyakha’s first year anniversary at the beginning of February 2018, having improved over 7 million lives through technology and free services under these four pillars.
  • High Value (Vodacom Red): Our aim is to drive multiple data device penetration and extend the content portfolio, while excelling in service recognition. Our efforts to live up to our ‘Expect More’ promise with Red has yielded positive results in the past year, significantly growing our customer market share by 2ppts. This was achieved in a highly competitive environment. The focus on customer CARE initiatives, coupled with various exclusive services and rewards for Red customers, has led to much higher NPS scores from our Red customers.

Looking to the future, we will be making greater use of Big Data and analytics to deepen our understanding of consumer behaviour as we strive to develop highly-personalised product and service offerings within these segments, with the ultimate goal of achieving relevant offers for the segment of one. In addition to driving growth in the above three segmented areas, we will be further broadening our brand affinity in the emerging market segment, and adding new segments, starting with women.

We have continued to show strong performance in each of the four focus areas of our accelerated data growth strategy:

Commercial network roll-out
  • We further increased our addressable 3G and 4G base by extending our network coverage and capacity in South Africa, Tanzania and Lesotho, and our 2G and 3G coverage in the DRC and Mozambique.
  • In South Africa, 4G customers increased 44.8% to 7.3 million and our 4G network now covers 80.1% of the population, the first operator in Africa to achieve this feat.
South Africa
Data progression (million)
Device penetration
  • This year in South Africa, there were 11.6 million 3G devices on our network, while the number of 4G devices increased 46.4% to 7.9 million. We are looking to realise the significant upside from the 1.8 million data customers not yet using smart devices, by driving down smart device prices and accelerating device financing opportunities.
  • Our device strategy, of offering more affordable devices, has assisted in increasing smartphone penetration in our International markets to 31.9% from 24.9% in the prior year. There has been particularly strong success in Mozambique, with penetration levels at 50.4%, driven by the success of Vodacom branded device offers.
Data contribution (%)

Scaling financial services in South Africa

We see significant potential in providing compelling offerings in the following areas:


Our existing segmented insurance portfolio, covering life, funeral and various short-term insurance offerings has grown steadily over the past year, generating revenue of approximately R625 million from 950 000 policies. With insurance remaining largely underpenetrated in South Africa, we see a substantial opportunity in growing and digitising our insurance offerings, building on the advantages we enjoy as a telco.

  • We have a sizeable existing customer base, and a wealth of customers insights that will be leveraged for lead generation and conversion, and for developing highly-personalised product offerings.
  • We have a strong direct billing relationship with customers, and multiple channels available for engaging with customers, with digital being the biggest and most efficient.
  • Insurance is a sector particularly open to digital disruption, presenting exciting opportunities for digital players in terms of product innovation, underwriting, pricing and customer journey digitisation.

Enabled by our growing Big Data capabilities, we are exploring opportunities to develop products for both our existing and new customer base across our markets.


We currently have 290 000 customers utilising the Vodacom Express Recharge platform for direct recharges which has seen direct voucher sales increasing by 43.2% to R631 million. Growing direct voucher purchases through our express recharge platform will have a positive impact on cash flow, as well as margin improvement for Vodacom. We are also in the process of developing our own digital payment products, which will not only improve operating margins but also create new revenue streams in the future. In addition to the Consumer proposition, we are simultaneously developing Business to Business (B2B) payments processing capability that will be offered to our Enterprise customers.


Our Airtime Advance product achieved substantial growth in the past year by leveraging sophisticated AI capabilities. Total value of airtime advanced through this product increased from R1.8 billion to R2.7 billion, representing 43.8% growth for the year. We have expanded the Advance options to also include data bundles.

Driving Enterprise growth

Vodacom Business delivered another solid performance, with mobile market share remaining strong, continued growth in the fixed-line business and further delivery in Internet of Things (IoT).

  • In South Africa, Enterprise service revenue grew 10.8%, now contributing 25.7% of service revenue.
  • The Enterprise mobile customer base increased 6.9% year-on-year to 1.3 million customers, driven predominately by growth in the small and medium enterprise (SME) and public sector markets.
  • Mobile revenue was negatively impacted by the slower roll-out of services from the National Treasury contract, with ARPU declining as we implemented the increased discount coupled with an unexpected lag in onboarding of new departments.
  • Service revenue growth from fixed services increased 55.6%, driven by the inclusion of wholesale transit revenue (a new low margin business), IPVPN revenue growth of 7.5%, Cloud and Hosting revenue growth of 17.2% and other connectivity growth of 30%.
  • We extended fibre capillarity through partnerships with existing providers, and extended Cloud and Hosting through the successful launch of the SME Business Place. We also have extended our hybrid Cloud capabilities to private and public entities.
  • Our IoT business continues to grow, with revenue up 11.1% to R758 million. As Low Power Wide Area Network (LPWAN) technologies and use cases become more ubiquitous across the globe, we consolidated our leadership position for LPWAN in narrowband IoT (NB-IoT) technology. This year, we executed the first billing projects on the Vodacom IoT enablement platform, digitalising several commercial buildings to enable a ‘Smart Building’ service. We also executed IoT service projects in smart utility management services, cold chain management and smart asset management, combining IoT hardware, connectivity and platforms. In health, we achieved a milestone of 10 million stock reads on our stock visibility solution platform, reducing the number of stock-outs in the national health system.
  • Our mobility and managed services solution have also gained traction. Vodacom Business is partnering with the South African Department of Education to improve access and learning to students, especially in rural areas. We have now rolled out over 46 000 laptops, tablets and interactive white boards together with Vodacom E-Learning Managed Service in various rural schools.
  • At year-end we had a 13 point lead in Enterprise NPS score over our nearest competitor, increasing our lead in small and medium enterprises. We have actions in place to improve our lead with a goal of securing a 15 point lead.
Bundle engagement
  • In South Africa, our industry leading application of Big Data and machine learning, created to deliver personalised bundle offers based on customer behaviour, continues to differentiate us from our competitors. Through our ‘Just 4 You’ platform we have accelerated the uptake of bundle offers, driving the sale of 2.3 billion bundles in the year, up 51.3%. Of these, 62.2% of bundle purchases were made through the ‘Just 4 You’ platform. Customers using bundles have grown 13.9% to 18.7 million.
  • Data bundles sold increased 54.7% to 766 million. The increase in average monthly data used by customers on smart devices increased 18.4% to 784 MB. Average data consumption increases when migrating from a 2G to a 3G device and 4G device once again highlighting the value in encouraging customer migration to 3G and 4G devices.
Upselling digital services to existing users
  • Digital services represented 3.2% of service revenue, a 24.3% increase on the prior year, reflecting our progress in increasing the availability and appeal of our digital products and services.

Scaling M-Pesa

Today, 32.3 million customers in our International operations and Safaricom rely on our service, making us the continent’s leading mobile money provider, alleviating financial uncertainty and contributing to achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

M-Pesa remains a strong growth driver in our International operations, with customers up 18.0% this year to 11.8 million. In Tanzania, 428 000 customers 1 are using our successful M-Pawa savings and loans product, developed in partnership with the Commercial Bank of Africa. There has also been a further steady uptake of our International Money Transfer (IMT) services. We continuously add new services to the platform entrenching consumer payment behaviour. In Tanzania, we have introduced lipa kwa M-Pesa, our merchant payment solution, showing very strong merchant take up. This platform gives customers the convenience to transact with M-Pesa at more points of sale. The equivalent of over USD160 million was transacted through this system alone this year. In Mozambique, we have expanded our agent network to more than 20 000 agents, while in the DRC and Lesotho we continue to incentivise customers to increase uptake. On average, USD1.9 billion was processed monthly through the M-Pesa system.

We see substantial further opportunities for M-Pesa revenue growth in our International markets, building on our leading market presence and platforms, and harnessing the opportunities associated with emerging disruptive technologies such as machine learning, Artificial Intelligence and blockchain settlement solutions. Our strategic stake in Safaricom, the current leader in the mobile money business, gives us access to knowledge, expertise and know-how in helping us to further accelerate adoption across our other markets. We will be looking to consolidate our market leadership in Consumer and Enterprise markets, accelerate the monetisation of services, expand our ecosystems, ensure a stable and favourable compliance landscape, and drive growth into higher value-add financial services.

  • 30-day active customers.

Strategic big bet

Consumer digital services and fibre leadership

We have established dedicated acceleration units to identify and realise new opportunities for monetising data and growing data usage by developing Consumer digital services in a range of areas, including:

  • Digital content: We aim to provide the best digital experience across our six chosen verticals: video, music, sports and gaming, digital advertising, e-Commerce, as well as delivering a compelling ecosystem of third-party propositions. We made good progress this year in most verticals and will now focus on building scale, with a particular focus on exponentially growing digital advertising, video and the above ecosystems. This year, we secured a 25.2% growth in content-related revenue, and a 76.0% increase in unique content-users.
  • Consumer IoTNetwork satisfaction guaranteed : We continue to develop product and service offerings in areas such as home automation and security, pet trackers, and personal accessories and wearables.
  • e-Commerce and related e-Services: We are also developing new data monetisation opportunities through targeted partnerships in areas such as e-Commerce, e-Education,
    e-Health and e-Sport.

We are placing a strengthened focus on ‘owning the household’ through a three-part strategy:

  • Providing the best network in mobile and fibre.
  • Ensuring the most compelling household/family propositions.
  • Delivering the best customer experience.
Making progress on rolling out fibre:

We progressed our fibre roll-out this year, covering more estates and business parks. We have 54 247 homes and business passed and 15 846 connected with fibre or fibre-like services. Looking to the future, we will be identifying opportunities for co-build, and are confident that we will deliver our fibre roll-out targets.

Strategic big bet

Enterprise, digital and IoT

To drive Enterprise growth to 2020, we are focusing on three strategic investment areas:

  • Build our core sales channel: We will continue to defend our lead in mobile, through pricing transformation, strong network performance, and the expansion and enhancement of our product portfolio. At the same time, we will work to position Vodacom as a market leader in fixed data and fixed voice (VOIP) through our targeted investment in fibre and fixed wireless capillarity, and in next generation networks. In South Africa, we have contracted with a leading national retailer in the FMCG sector for expanding our fibre network. This is an excellent example of Vodacom’s capability in delivering fibre solutions at a national scale. In our International markets, we will further expand our ecosystem to support M-Pesa for Enterprise.
  • Cloud and security: We will grow our Cloud business, with emphasis on the application level versus infrastructure products. We will continue to attract large global brands through co-location, with a strong pipeline of new opportunities. In addition, we will look to partner with hyperscale Cloud providers – such as Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services, Alibaba and Google – whose platforms are used by many of our existing customers. We will also expand our professional capability to assist our customers in migrating their existing workloads, as well as building new capabilities on the new platforms. We will expand our security capability to a richer solution set. The investment in our own Cyber Intelligence Centre has provided great insight from customers on the market appetite for an evolved security strategy. On Big Data, we will launch our own retail analytics capability, providing new insights from AI and machine learning.
  • Market leadership in IoT: Our goal is to become the IoT solutions partner of choice, building on Vodafone’s recognised leadership in this area and its extensive resources in Africa. Vodacom was awarded the 2018 Africa Technology Innovation Award for its NB-IoT technology deployment. We will be extending our IoT connectivity leadership in all vertical markets, providing end-to-end services across the full IoT value chain: connecting things; collecting the data; analysing the data; and taking action on this data. We continue to identify opportunities in hardware, connectivity management, and in developing and providing services in areas such as Big Data analytics, application enablement, and Cloud and Hosting. In doing so, we are leveraging off the deep vertical expertise developed in conjunction with our subsidiaries XLink and Mezzanine. We currently have 3.6 million machines or things connected to our network.

Best Customer Experience

Best Customer Experience

Best Customer Experience
Best Customer Experience

We provide the most engaging customer experience, blending the best of technology and human interaction in a personal, instant and easy way.

Best Customer Experience
Vodacom Vision 2020

We digitise and simplify the customer experience, substantially enhancing the quality of service by:

Using Big Data analytics, machine learning and AI to provide a complete 360 degree view of the customer.

Providing customers with a seamless, fully integrated one-channel experience, ensuring consistent, personalised and efficient customer engagement, both online and in-store, with digital the dominant support channel and MyVodacom app the channel of choice.

Developing high-technology stores of the future that use biometric and IoT-enabled services, and augmented and virtual reality.
Increasing the use of automation, robotics and biometrics to optimise the customer experience and achieve operational efficiencies across our engagement channels.

Providing the most engaging customer experience across all channels creates an important source of competitive differentiation. In line with our vision of becoming a leading digital company, our goal is to digitise the customer experience and substantially enhance the quality of service we provide, so that we lead in net promoter score (NPS) in each of our markets.

Optimising the customer experience

Our approach to optimising the customer experience has been guided, since May 2015, by our CARE initiative, an ambitious three-year programme across the Vodafone Group that focuses on four key areas:

Connectivity that is reliable and secure
‘Network satisfaction guaranteed’

Always excellent value
‘Control your costs with no surprises’

Rewarding loyalty
‘Extra rewards and better service’

Easy access
‘Always available, ask only once’

Our Performance

Connectivity We will guarantee network satisfaction in terms of speed, reliability and coverage, and take a proactive approach in monitoring and maintaining coverage, call and data quality.

  • We were the first African operator to extend 4G coverage to more than 80% of the population.
  • Introduced Wi-Fi Calling, allowing customers to make calls and send SMSs over Wi-Fi, and make calls at local South African rates when abroad.
  • Achieved solid uptake of our Vodacom Business Booster app, a full feature service offering for our SME market.
  • Launched iFLIX partnership in Tanzania providing our customers with unlimited access to thousands of local and international TV shows and movies via the iFLIX app.
  • Developed and rolled out the Vodacom Virtual Chief Information Officer (CIO) initiative, providing small business with proactive monitoring, full remote and on-site support.
  • Further roll-out in Tanzania of Connected Farmer, a Cloud-based web and mobile software solution that links enterprises to smallholder farmers.

Always excellent value We aim to ensure that customers have full control of their spend, and do not have any surprises from bill shock.

  • Further uptake of our award-winning MyVodacom app allowing customers to view balances, buy bundles and manage accounts, free of charge. In South Africa, we have more than two million users.
  • Improved our in-bundle and out-of-bundle smart notifications for customers, and launched a data refill service to manage out-of-bundle pricing.
  • Enhanced our International roaming offers, with daily fee Travel Saver prepaid and Data Travel bundles, and broadened our International prepaid data-roaming footprint from 64 to 180 countries.
  • Offered Enjoy More – Worry Free bundles for Showmax and DSTV.
  • Launched Vodacom Business Data, a 12- or 24-month contract with a unique auto-activating data bundle feature ensuring that users are never out-of-bundle.
  • Positive uptake of Vodacom AssistSuites, a web-based application that allows small businesses to plan their communications with customers.
  • Implemented enhanced alert notifications in the DRC on voice bundles, and enabled customers to set a limit on out-of-bundle usage to better manage their spend.
  • Launched new 'Just 4 You' bundles in Lesotho to improve simplicity.
  • Launched phase II of the MyVodacom app in Tanzania, adding additional valuable features.

Reward loyalty We reward long-term customers, and enhance our existing contract and prepaid loyalty programmes.

  • Ran a successful summer campaign, SHAKE Everyday, with more than 156 million prizes offered with a 56% redemption rate to 19.6 million unique subscribers.
  • Launched a rewards promotion to encourage uptake of the MyVodacom app, where 10 customers per day could win 100 gigs of data valid for 30 days.
  • Siyakha Price Plan rewards customers up to R10 000 free funeral cover, and an additional 50% of recharges back as Siyakha extra airtime.
  • Launched Vodacom Trade Direct, our business-to-business web-based platform that allows both buyers and sellers to come together in a secure and reliable online environment.
  • In the DRC, we have seen significant uptake in our 'Just 4 You' offering, with machine learning informing highly-personalised offers based on customers' behaviour.
  • In Tanzania, we sent out more than one million personalised birthday messages and free gifts (airtime and data) to customers on their birthday.

Easy access We will maximise the efficiency and quality of customer support by digitising our customer experience and maintaining a segmented approach to deliver customer excellence.

  • In response to a 200% increase in total social media queries from customers over the last 12 months, we launched a specialist Social Media Command Centre that can quickly scale up or down to meet online customer needs.
  • Launched an enhanced Airtime Advance service, enabling customers to undertake multiple advances to increase their access to voice and data offerings.
  • Implemented fingerprint authentication to enhance the logon process for MyVodacom app.
  • Introduced a new retail app allowing customers to complete an upgrade in store in half the usual time.
  • Introduced a converged self-service portal for corporates.
  • Launched Red Family Share, a convenient data sharing solution for high-value Red clients that allows them to share their data with up to six other Vodacom friends and family members.
  • Successfully rolled out our front-line operational excellence programme called Flight in Tanzania and Mozambique and an improved Knowledge Base portal in Tanzania, Mozambique and Lesotho, resulting in marked improvements in our first call resolution rates.
  • We launched the MyVodacom app in Tanzania, the DRC and Lesotho.


As part of our Vision 2020 commitments, we will be adapting the definition of the four CARE pillars to make them more digitally specific:

Connectivity that is smart and secure

Always excellent value

Real-time relevant rewards

Easy, personal and instant access

Through digi-CARE we will be looking to provide the most engaging digital customer experience, blending the best of technology and human interaction in a personal, instant and easy way.

Driving a positive customer experience in our retail operations

South Africa

We have continued to drive our Vision 2020 across our retail activities this year, embedding a digital culture and delivering digital capabilities to maintain market differentiation through the quality of our end-to-end service offerings.

  • Rolled out the Vodacom Retail app to 265 stores with 832 tablets in circulation, enabling customers to do paperless upgrades instantaneously with a sales consultant, halving the transaction time.
  • Delivered the Qnomy queue management system to 195 stores across the country.
  • Rolled out the Vision 2020: Digital Now! Customer Now! training to 1 173 front-line staff in 195 stores.
  • Extended our Perfect Start Up practice into Chatz stores and independent dealers, with more than 400 stores now adopting these enabling services.
  • Successfully completed 20 stores as part of the transformation strategy of our Vodacom 4U channel, repositioning the brand for the youth segment. We are on track to complete around 90 stores in three years.
  • Digitally enhanced 187 of our Vodacom Shop stores with LFD commercial screens, LED projecting signage, and digital integrated panels.
  • Maintained a strong focus on our differentiated after-sales model, driving our repair avoidance strategy and first-line repair resolution through TechZone, resolving more than 200 000 first-line technical services within 24 hours and processing on average 650 000 repairs within five days.
  • Through our 'Fit for growth' initiative, we moved 1.2 million customers from a paper-based billing solution onto an e-Billing platform solution, achieving savings of R38 million.

We have continued to enhance our activities across our International operations, building on earlier progress in driving our ambitious CARE initiative.

  • We have made further progress in rolling out new store formats in all our markets, as well as additional investment in improving our customer call centres. We continue deepening our use of digital as a means of further enhancing the customer experience, primarily through our 'Just 4 You' offering.
  • We have had good uptake on our registration app aimed at improving the customer experience and mitigating the negative impact of the significant customer registration requirements in Tanzania, the DRC and Mozambique.
  • In Tanzania, Mozambique and Lesotho our new Knowledge Base Portal is enabling our front-line staff to more readily access information on all our products and services. This has increased efficiency in customer handling and further improved the customer experience through our knowledgeable call centre and retail staff.
Delivering leadership on NPS

To measure the quality of the customer experience, we use the NPS based on one question: "How likely would you be to recommend Vodacom to a friend, family member or colleague?" Vodacom ended the year leading in NPS in all of our markets, for the first time, which is a significant achievement.

  • In South Africa, at year-end we ranked number one in both Consumer and Enterprise NPS, with a 10 and 13 point gap respectively against our nearest competitor.
  • In the DRC, we have a 4 point gap ahead of our nearest competitor, taking the lead in the market for the first time in over six months. We are leading the market on all customer care attributes.
  • In Tanzania, we have a 13 point gap to our nearest competitor, despite heavy competitive pressure in the form of price cuts by competitors.
  • In Mozambique, we maintained a stable headline NPS at 65 points, with a lead of 4 points, driven by improvements across most emotional attributes.
  • In Lesotho, we maintained a lead in headline NPS at 70 points, leading in most functional and emotional attributes.

Our NPS performance rating
Country 2018   2017   2016
South Africa 1st   1st   1st
Tanzania 1st   3rd   2nd
DRC 1st   1st   4th
Mozambique 1st   2nd   1st
Lesotho 1st   1st   1st

Digitising and optimising the customer experience
Strategic Enabler

Digitising and optimising the customer experience

We have six strategic priorities aimed at blending the best of technology and human interaction in a personal, instant and easy way:

  • Driving digital: Our goal is to drive digital sales transactions, both in absolute numbers and as a percentage of total sales, across our various digital channels. We are investing in richer and more intelligent interfaces, Big Data analytics, and IT-based customer engagement and management tools to optimise the customer experience and achieve greater efficiencies across all channels. We have made valuable progress in our drive to get customers to start their sales journey online, and finishing in-store to collect their device.
  • Store of the future: We will be further modernising and digitising our retail channel, providing a retail model that is globally aligned, locally segmented and that creates a consistent emotional connection for customers to the Vodacom brand. We will be showcasing our digitally transformed retail channel experience with the reopening of our flagship Vodacom World, providing customers with a more personalised experiential journey, and demonstrating the potential in the areas of IoT and technology.
  • One-channel: Our aim is to provide a seamless, fully integrated one-channel experience, creating a phenomenal customer experience ensuring that Vodacom is incredibly simple to do business with.
  • Channel economics: We will be reducing reliance on the traditional wholesale channel, and optimising the channel mix by encouraging a shift to digital, using Big Data analytics to drive efficiencies across all channels.
  • Segment and counties: Building on the early successes of our segment-based county, cluster and micro-cluster model, we will be using this model to drive our targets to secure and consolidate our leadership in market share per segment and county.
  • Terminal and logistics: We will maintain our strong focus on driving penetration of smartphones, reducing the usage of 2G devices, and embedding Consumer IoT uptake.

To track our progress on digitising the customer experience we use the digital NPS key performance indicator to measure our customers' digital exposure to our brand campaigns, digital touch points, offerings and services.

Best Technology

Best Technology

Best Technology
Best Technology

We are the leading telco through the best network and IT excellence, with digital at the core.

Best Technology
Vodacom Vision 2020

To deliver on our vision of being the leading digital telco we:

Modernise our networks and grow our connectivity footprint; implement Big Data and Artificial Intelligence (AI) technologies for superior analytical capabilities and transform technology processes to underpin all decision-making with strong and data-driven insights.

Accelerate our IT strategy implementation programme and continue embedding Agile culture into the way we work.

The modern digital customer expects more than just seamless connectivity from a network provider; they also expect to have access to self-help services, real-time management of spend, and instant access to online content and services, anytime, anywhere. They also expect organisations to quickly adapt to their evolving digital needs, wants and behaviours. To deliver on our ambition of being a leading digital organisation, we need to invest in the latest network technologies, Big Data analytics and scalable smart-IT systems. This will enable our customers to remain confidently connected with a personalised, digital experience.

Our performance

Across the Group we invested R11.6 billion this year in infrastructure, realising a capital intensity of 13.4%. Major investment programmes included expanding our network coverage in 2G and 3G across all our markets and 4G in South Africa, Tanzania and Lesotho, as well as improving the overall network performance and customer experience. As a result, we have maintained a strong lead in terms of net promoter score (NPS) for network quality and network coverage in all of our markets, except Tanzania where we also made significant progress in closing the gap to our main competitor. At the same time, we delivered substantial cost savings through our Technology Efficiency programme. A key focus across our markets this year has been responding to instances of increased investment from the competition, to ensure that we maintain a differentiated network experience.

South Africa

We further extended our voice and high-speed data coverage

  • 2G remains at over 99.9% of population.
  • 3G extended to 99.4% of population.
  • 4G extended to 80.1% of population, the first in Africa to reach >80% coverage.
  • Expanded our 4G+ roll-out in key areas, where different frequencies are combined to provide faster 4G speeds and increase capacity.
  • Extended rural coverage by adding 101 rural sites this year to towns that never had coverage before.
  • Access to sub 1 GHz 4G spectrum (700/800 MHz) will enable more cost-effective expansion of 4G to rural areas and will improve deep indoor 4G coverage.
  • Further expansion of our 4G+ footprint has also been limited by spectrum constraints.

We worked on enhancing our network performance and improving the customer experience

  • Enabled more than 85% of our 3G sites with dual carrier technology to improve data speeds and selectively re-farmed our 900 MHz spectrum for UMTS900 upgrades on key sites to improve deep indoor coverage and extend our rural 3G coverage footprint.
  • Leveraged our national roaming agreement with Rain to provide an improved data experience for our 4G customers.
  • We experienced an unfortunate challenge with the outsourced maintenance of our mobile network, following the decision by an incumbent supplier to terminate their contract which has been in place since March 2016. During the final months of the contract, network performance was negatively impacted as the previous incumbent exited the relationship. We have accelerated the onboarding of a new, experienced supplier since February 2018, and network performance levels are improving.
  • Although we achieved good progress in improving our overall network availability, we continue to experience some challenges relating to power outages and vandalism.
  • Our main competitor closed the network performance gap during the past year, through their sustained accelerated investment programme over the past few years. We continue to execute on firm initiatives to ensure that we continue to provide the best network experience in South Africa despite the accelerated investment programme of our competitor.

We upgraded and expanded our network infrastructure to expand our reach and capabilities

  • Increased the percentage of base stations with self-provided high-capacity microwave transmission to 91.9%, to handle the growth in data traffic.
  • Continued to modernise our core network systems, leveraging virtualisation technologies for improved flexibility, performance and reliability.
  • Implemented a Customer Experience Management system to enable an end-to-end view of our customer experience on a single platform. This enables us to detect customer experience issues, understand root causes, and initiate the best action to fix the problem.
  • Significantly grew our fibre to the home and business footprint (FTTx), with over 54 247 end-points passed; by implementing an end-to-end digital approach to service delivery and network planning. This helped to drive significant reductions in both our FTTx connection costs and time to connect.
  • Launched the first commercial NarrowBand Internet of Things (NB-IoT) network in Africa, and made good progress in further enhancing the capabilities of our Internet of Things (IoT) platform to support true end-to-end application capabilities and propositions.
  • Achieved ~90% of our Enterprise microwave and fibre access delivery targets.

We made sustained investments in IT to support our digital telco ambitions

  • Initiated the separation of legacy back-end IT systems from new, front-end digital services to create a platform that can handle high volumes and faster transactions in order to improve customer experience. This new digital experience layer will also improve time-to-market for integration between our network and third-party digital service providers, benefiting our customers by providing easy access to exciting new digital services.
  • Continued investment in Cloud infrastructure and migrating applications, IT services and network functions onto our Cloud platforms to enhance flexibility and improve scalability, availability and performance of services.
  • Enhanced and further simplified our IT platform architecture by leveraging standard Application Programmable Interfaces (APIs) thereby ensuring re-usability and ease of integration between internal systems and with third parties.
  • Successfully implemented the first stage of our Big Data journey with a focus on machine learning as a service and real-time contextualisation aimed at enhancing our successful ‘Just 4 You’ programme and driving personalisation down to a segment of one.
  • Continued the evolution of our customer relationship management (CRM) and billing systems with improved functionality, and completed the Consumer contract and top-up customer migrations to our new CRM system.
  • Used Robotic Process Automation and AI to automate the handling of network failure queries via email and instant messaging through bots.
  • Made further progress in assessing and implementing data protection controls and processes to address cyberthreats associated with newer technologies such as Cloud and IoT, and to ensure compliance with new privacy and protection laws.

We continued to securely connect our Enterprise customers

  • Increased network capillarity, with more Enterprise customers securely connected on-net through both fixed and mobile technologies such as fibre, microwave and mobile 3G/4G. This was complemented with the OneNet Business suite enabling our customers to experience the benefits of a fully unified communications service (converged mobile and fixed telephony).
  • Our Cloud services continued to evolve with the expansion of Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), as well as a SAP-certified Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) offering, including continuous improvement in customer self-service capabilities.
  • Internet of Things (IoT) is one of the key strategic growth areas of the business and our existing global IoT capabilities and footprint will be enhanced with IoT end-to-end application capabilities and propositions. We have completed a few class-leading solutions for Enterprise customers, leveraging off our investment in a ThingWorx® IoT platform – this early success will be expanded to develop and mature further new IoT applications and solutions.

South Africa maintaining our lead

+9ppts ahead
of nearest competitor network NPS
2017 MyBroadband Awards Winner
‘Best Mobile Network’

Benchmark data performance

1. Source: Ookla (January 2018 – March 2018).

4G Population coverage

International operations

Our capex investment translated into expanded network coverage, and improved network performance and availability, across our International markets.

We extended network coverage

  • Grew our coverage to more than 7 200 2G sites and 5 200 3G sites across our markets.
  • Almost doubled our 4G-enabled sites in Tanzania with aggressive refarming of 1800 MHz spectrum. An auction for 700 MHz spectrum to enable wider and more cost-effective 4G coverage expansion and deeper indoor penetration is scheduled to take place during June 2018.
  • Continued to seek out opportunities to gain access to 4G spectrum in Mozambique to improve our data services.
  • The DRC was granted a 4G licence on 11 May 2018.

We delivered performance improvements

  • Achieved significant improvements in data download speeds in Tanzania despite a significant increase in traffic, and reflected in the improvements in both crowd sourced download speed measurements from Ookla and also seen by an improvement in our Network NPS.
  • Ensured that we are 100% single Radio Access Network (RAN) compliant in our International markets, thus ensuring our radio network equipment technology agnostic.
  • Achieved compliance with the Vodafone Global Network Resilience policy; this policy has been extended to include the fixed network, as well as IT services and ensures that our operations are able to quickly recover from major disasters.

We strengthened our IT capability

  • Ensured that all our markets now have the IT capability to support our personalised pricing offer ‘Just 4 You’, as well as other contextual marketing offers.
  • Successfully launched the MyVodacom app in the DRC, Lesotho and Tanzania to drive the adoption of self-service, improve customer satisfaction and deliver greater operational efficiencies.
  • Launched the M-Pesa app in Tanzania, making it quicker and easier to conclude mobile money transactions on smartphones.
  • Progressed in evolving contextual marketing capabilities, with real-time triggers and machine learning, and enhanced online capabilities in all International markets.

International fending off the competition
Data speeds 2 (Mbps)
  Vodacom   Next best competitor  
Tanzania 13.3   9.9  
DRC 6.1   5.7  
Mozambique 7.7   6.2  
Lesotho 18.9   16.1  

1st in all operations

Coverage (%)
    Vodacom   Next best competitor  
Tanzania 3G
DRC 3G 28   27  
Mozambique 3G 41   17  
Lesotho 3G

1st in all operations

2. Source: Ookla March 2018.

Network NPS across our markets

Vodacom continues to show leadership with respect to Network NPS across all International markets, except Tanzania where customer perception continues to be influenced by aggressive pricing offers of a recent entrant to the market. The gap to the nearest competitor has been steadily closed during the year, mainly due to our continued investment and subsequent improvement in network quality, availability and coverage.

Overall network NPS position
Country 2018 2017
South Africa #1 #1
Tanzania #2 #3
DRC #1 #1
Mozambique #1 #2
Lesotho #1 #1

Modernising our network and investing in IT
Strategic Enabler

Modernising our network and investing in IT

To deliver on our Vision 2020 of being the leading digital telco, we will be modernising our network to support the latest technologies, use data analytics and AI to improve our planning and operations capabilities and deepen our IT capabilities.

Modernising our network and improving our planning and operations capabilities:

  • We will modernise our RAN across all of our markets, ensuring that we will be ready to deploy the latest technologies and offer the best customer experience across our 2G, 3G and 4G networks. Key to the transformation is to ensure our network supports higher speeds, lower latency and a massive number of simultaneous connections for IoT.
  • Evolve our core network, by deploying technologies such as software defined networks (SDN) and network function virtualisation (NFV) in order to ensure that we drive on-demand scalability and flexibility of network resources.
  • Continue to roll-out a national IoT network and develop new IoT applications and solutions.
  • A key focus will be to enable smarter planning and operational capabilities. Network planning will be driven by deep insights across multiple dimensions and network operations will be made more efficient through predictive performance analysis.

In deepening our IT capabilities and implementing our IT acceleration programme, we will:

  • Scale Agile development methodologies and automated testing to improve time-to-market and the overall quality of our products and services.
  • Insource critical digital skills and knowledge to ensure sustainability and maturity in terms of digital resources and capabilities.
  • Drive Cloud migration and application adoption to ensure benefits such as on-demand resource optimisation, scalability and flexibility are achieved.
  • Strengthen our ability to harness Big Data analytics and machine learning to drive predictive analytics and automation capabilities in order to enhance customer experience and improve operational efficiencies.
  • Identify and realise opportunities for using robotics and cognitive automation to automate routine and rule-based tasks; this will include deploying our virtual workforce (Robotic Process Automation) with robots being deployed in selective areas, as well as launching our full live chatbot for contract customers via the MyVodacom app and online portal.
  • High-volume customer journeys are optimised for the best possible digital experience.
  • Improve our cybersecurity measures and controls, ensuring that our customers stay confidently and securely connected.

Digital Organisation and Culture

Digital Organisation and Culture

Digital Organisation and Culture
Digital Organisation and Culture

We build an organisation of the future where digital is first for all employees, underpinned by innovation, agility and new skills.

Digital Organisation and Culture
Vodacom Vision 2020

We digitise the organisation, and ensure the right people and culture by:

Creating an Agile, future-focused organisation that drives simpler, faster execution.

Accelerating digital skills and a learning culture within the organisation.
Establishing a distinctive employee experience and encouraging workforce diversity.
Leveraging data for improved decision-making and using Big Data analytics across the business.

Becoming a leading digital company requires a digital transformation within our own organisation, built on a culture that fosters organisational agility and collaborative working, that attracts and develops the rights skills, talent and diversity, and that uses Big Data and analytics to inform decision-making.

Creating an Agile, future-focused organisation

In delivering on our ambition of being a leading digital organisation, we are placing a strong emphasis on embedding a culture where the attributes of speed, simplicity and trust inform how we work.

We have further streamlined our operating model, organisational structure and decision-making processes, with the goal of promoting a more Agile, future-proof way of work. We have placed a particular focus this year on embedding Agile structures, principles and tools in our operating model, establishing various collaborative cross-functional 'digital accelerator' teams and scaling these across the organisation. This Agile planning framework is improving the quality of engagement across business units, increasing the level of Executive Committee member inputs, and encouraging greater alignment and accountability on mutually-agreed outcomes and performance indicators.

Accelerating digital skills and a learning culture

This year, we invested R287 million in the training and development of our employees. We invested an additional R21.4 million in our various executive and leadership development courses, targeted at high-potential future leaders across the organisation.

In addition to developing skills internally, we have a strong focus on identifying, nurturing and attracting the talent needed to deliver our digital ambitions, with a particular emphasis on areas such as Big Data and analytics, customer value management, IoT, IT security and Cloud. This year, we recruited 76 graduates in South Africa and 55 across our International operations; 61% of the South African recruits are female, and 86% are black Africans. We continue to engage with leading universities, contributing to the development of ICT and digital-related course content, and working actively to identifying emerging young talent.

Further details are provided in our Report of the Social and Ethics Committee.

Establishing a distinctive employee experience

Our resourcing policy provides a framework for promoting good practice and equality in recruitment and performance management. We appoint employees based on objective criteria for skills, experience, qualifications and competencies, with preference given to employees from under-represented groups. The current key focus is on attracting and retaining digital, actuarial and Big Data skills to ensure that we are ready for the new wave of AI in a highly competitive market for skills. As part of our shift to digital, this year our South African business migrated to the digital-based Global Resourcing Process, significantly boosting the efficiency of our recruitment.

We strive to create a culture of recognition that motivates employees to deliver performance above-and-beyond what is expected, not only in terms of individual performance, but also with the aim of encouraging more effective teamwork and reward our top performers accordingly.

Each year we conduct an annual People Survey, undertaken by independent consultants, to track how engaged, well managed and 'included' our employees feel. We compare our scores with a high-performing peer group and other Vodafone Group companies to assess whether we are creating the right environment for our people to excel and grow. This year, our overall workforce participation rate was 88%, unchanged from last year.

2018 2017 2016
Engagement Index 78   79 76  
Digital Index 77    

Despite the slight decline in our Engagement Index (from 79 to 78), we remain on par with the high-performing peer group that we benchmark ourselves against, the results suggest that employees remain motivated and proud to work for Vodacom. Areas identified as requiring greater focus include driving improvement around speed and simplicity in the business, supporting employee progression and recognition, as well as ongoing employee communication and engagement on People Survey actions. We have approved various actions in response to the results, including: undertaking dedicated CEO-led employee interactions and targeted leadership engagements, enabling line managers to recognise staff achievements, and increasing our focus on employees' individual development plans. We have also rolled out a focus group initiative ('#haveyoursay') that seeks to solicit deeper employee inputs across all organisational levels, and to co-create solutions to some of the challenges identified in the survey.

Aligned with our ambition of embedding a digital culture, the People Survey also includes a measure of the digital experience we offer our employees and customers. This year, we obtained a score of 77 on the Digital Index, which is on par with the Vodafone Group. We will be driving the digital culture agenda through various initiatives that form part of a comprehensive transformation plan.

Encouraging workforce diversity

We place a strong emphasis on encouraging diversity within our organisation, not only to address historic imbalances, but also to enhance our ability to serve our diverse customers more effectively by broadening our pool of experiences, perspectives and ideas. As a company with roots in South Africa, we are committed to delivering on the objectives of BEE and employment equity. In our South African operation, Black representation in the workforce is 74%, with 67% at the Executive Committee level and 56% at senior management level. Women represent 43% of the workforce, with 31% at senior management level. We have various initiatives aimed at promoting gender diversity and supporting women in progressing their careers at Vodacom. These include our flagship female leadership programme undertaken in partnership with the Gordon Institute of Business Science, our women in leadership programme with the North West University, and the Women's Network Forum initiative aimed at promoting cross-gender understanding and an inclusive culture.

Our safety performance

We are saddened to report the loss of life of three Vodacom contractors this year, in a road traffic accident in the DRC. On 19 November 2017, a Vodacom contractor driver and two passengers were fatally injured in a collision with an oncoming truck. All other markets recorded a fatality free year.

Road-related accidents remain our principal safety risk, accounting for 43% of all incidents this year, followed by electrical fires (11%) and slips, trips and falls (11%). Contractors account for 67% of all reported incidents. We are continually focusing on initiatives to enhance and improve our risk mitigation methods. This year, we conducted 'deep dive' audits on all our high-risk suppliers to assess their road risk controls and promote compliance with our stringent standards. Our lost time injury frequency rate was 0.03, a further improvement on our performance in prior years (2017: 0.05 and 2016: 0.11).

Further details are provided in our Report of the Social and Ethics Committee.

Strategic Enabler

Leveraging data through Big Data analytics

Harnessing the power of Big Data analytics is a critical enabler to delivering on our growth strategy.

We are looking to replicate the success we have already achieved with machine learning through our 'Just 4 You' offering and smart notifications - and take this to scale, investing in the people and platforms needed to accelerate our Big Data analytics, and to develop our capacity to provide machine learning as a service. This year, we have enhanced our core team of data engineers, data scientists and modellers, and will be looking to double our capacity in the next year. We also have made substantial investments in the platform and technologies that enable Big Data storage and real-time processing.

Our early efforts in machine learning and partial adoption of Artificial Intelligence have already delivered material increases in profit margin, contributing for example to 'Just 4 You' deal enhancements, valuable leads in fibre sales, preventing proactive churn on post-pay, and informing customer value management interactions. We are looking to broaden the use of Big Data across the business, to optimise call centre performance through enhanced voice recognition, to combine customer information for deeper analytics, and to more effectively track competitor offerings to improve our competitiveness.

Our Brand and Reputation

Our Brand and Reputation

Our Brand and Reputation
Our Brand and Reputation

We provide the most engaging customer experience, blending the best of technology and human interaction in a personal, instant and easy way.

Our Brand and Reputation
Vodacom Vision 2020

We maintain the strength of Vodacom’s purpose-driven brand and a reputation for promoting social transformation through:

Driving brand and reputation leadership in all our markets.

Accelerating socioeconomic transformation and sustainability through digital solutions.

Showing leadership in promoting BEE in South Africa.

Our goal is to ensure that we build trust with all our stakeholders, and that Vodacom remains the customer brand of choice, with a brand that reflects our core purpose: ‘connecting everybody to live a better today, and build a better tomorrow’. Maintaining a strong purpose-driven brand, and a deserved reputation for promoting socioeconomic transformation and sustainability, is a critical enabler of our Vision 2020 strategy.

Vodacom Brand Refresh
Vodacom logos

The future is exciting.


Since our inception in 1994, the Vodacom brand has become synonymous with a culture of innovation and partnership, reflecting our role in accelerating the growth of mobile connectivity in our markets across Africa. In 2011, we changed our iconic blue and green brand to align more closely with Vodafone. This year, we launched a brand refresh programme, repositioning the brand as part of our Vision 2020 transformation of Vodacom to a digital company, empowering a connected society. The brand refresh and our new tagline – 'The future is exciting. Ready?' – reflects the changing nature of our products and services, clarifies the link between our commercial objectives and social purpose, and unites us behind a single, simple vision of what Vodacom is, and what we can be.

Brand and reputation leadership

Managing our reputation

We measure the strength of our reputation annually through our corporate Reputation Survey across all markets, with the intent of measuring how stakeholders perceive our performance in relation to our competitors and peer companies and track material issues.

The survey is conducted by an independent research company and invites all our key stakeholders – employees, general public (our customers and non-customers), regulators, government officials, key business accounts, the media and NGOs – to provide their view on our reputation, performance and overall trust in the Company. Our primary objective is to assess our reputational standing and proactively identify issues and concerns that affect stakeholder perceptions.

Strong performance on Reputation Index

Over the past three years, the survey confirmed Vodacom as a reputational leader in the telecoms sector across all markets. The latest 2018 results indicate that across all markets we retained our number one position as a reputational leader in the telecoms sector with stakeholders rating us higher than our peers and other non-telecommunications brands.

Vodacom score by country 2018   2017   2016  
South Africa 8.0   7.9   7.5  
Tanzania 8.0   8.4   7.9  
DRC 7.3   7.5   7.6  
Mozambique 8.2   8.3   8.3  
Lesotho 7.3   8.1   8.4  
  • South Africa: We increased our lead as the top-of-mind reputational leader in the telecoms sector, maintaining our lead on the second rated operator compared to the previous year. The findings highlighted the continuing need to focus on the general public as a stakeholder group.
  • Tanzania: We are the top-of-mind reputation leader in the country and have a strong lead on reputation amongst telecom peers. Employees continue to be the biggest driver of our Reputation Index while we need to work on improving perceptions amongst the general public, regulators, government officials and the media.
  • DRC: We increased our position as reputational leader across all companies and maintained a measurable gap between our telecoms peers. Overall impression and trust continues to be highest amongst employees and there have been improvements amongst the general public and NGOs.
  • Mozambique: We have reclaimed top-of-mind reputational leadership and maintained our lead over telecoms peers. Overall impression and trust has improved amongst the general public, key accounts and NGOs. There has been consistent scores in perceptions by other stakeholders.
  • Lesotho: We increased our lead as a top-of-mind reputation leader. Despite this, the research highlighted the need to improve overall impression and trust across all telecoms companies; neither us nor our competitor were seen as stand-out performers.

Across all our operations, executive teams proactively manage our reputation with quarterly meetings that review developed reputation management plans.

Our Strategic Enablers

Accelerating socioeconomic transformation through digital solutions

  • Our Vision 2020 is to be ‘a leading digital company that empowers a connected society’. We aim to disrupt through technology, delivering world-class digital solutions and removing barriers to access, as we evolve to the gigabit society. By democratising data, extending the coverage and quality of our network, facilitating access to smart devices, and driving pricing transformation with segmented customer propositions, we are making an enormous contribution to national developmental objectives and the global UN Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs).
  • As part of our commitment to accelerating socioeconomic transformation, we have identified and prioritised the seven UN SDGs, where we believe we can have the most meaningful impact. Following is an overview of some of our initiatives this year.

Good health and wellbeing

  • Through our subsidiary, Mezzanine, we have developed a mobile platform that allows healthcare professionals to utilise secure mobile devices to send treatment plans to patients, manage patients’ medical records and monitor the availability of dispensary stocks, all in real time.
  • Vodacom’s Mum and Baby platform, launched this year as part of our Siyakha platform, has helped almost one million subscribers access vital maternal healthcare information, through free access to videos and SMS covering a range of health topics.
  • In Tanzania, we provide free text messages with maternal health advice for pregnant women and mothers with new-borns. In partnership with USAID, we have launched a network of 100 taxi drivers to respond to toll-free emergency calls from pregnant women needing to get to hospital, with the drivers paid using M-Pesa.
  • In Lesotho, we are using a text-to-treatment model to get more HIV-positive pregnant women and children onto treatment programmes, with M-Pesa facilitating patients’ transport.
  • Through the Vodacom Foundation we are a long-standing supporter of various non-profit organisations in the health arena.

Quality education

  • Our flagship mobile education programme (mEducation), developed in partnership with the South African Department of Basic Education, provides ICT equipment and free internet access to 3 000 schools and 92 teacher centres across South Africa, and we have trained over 150 000 teachers on the use of ICT in the classroom.
  • As part of our commitment to reduce the cost to communicate and to contribute to free education, we have entered into partnership with 19 universities to zero-rate online access to curriculum content provided by these universities. More than 340 000 learners have free access to quality digital educational content through Vodacom e-School.
  • In April 2017, we were awarded the contract to supply a school management solution to the Eastern Cape Department of Education to help with the administration of over 5 000 predominantly rural schools. Our tailored solution enables the Department to collect reliable and consistent data about each school, helping to ensure that resources are being deployed in areas of greatest need.
  • Through our Siyakha platform, we offer low-income South Africans zero-rated content on specific education, health and employment websites.
  • In Tanzania, our Instant School initiative is a free education platform providing digitised educational material for primary and secondary school learners country-wide; launched in 2017, we have 30 000 learners registered on the platform. We also support educational initiatives in our other markets in the DRC, Mozambique and Lesotho.

Gender equality

  • In 2014, in partnership with the South African Department of Social Development (DSD), we established a 24-hour call centre providing counselling to victims of gender-based violence; this year, we extended its services, supplying laptops to 23 of the DSD’s ‘safe door shelters’ to empower gender-based violence survivors with ICT skills training.
  • Following the encouraging adoption of the Siyakha Mum and Baby product, we will be expanding our offerings with the ‘Digital Mom’ segmented proposition aimed specifically at women in low-income communities.
  • Through our groundbreaking M-Pesa product in Kenya, Tanzania, the DRC, Mozambique and Lesotho, we provide affordable access to mobile financial services to more than 32.3 million customers, many of them women in remote rural areas.

Good jobs and economic growth

  • The Vodacom Youth Academy focuses on youth skills development by providing basic computer skills, IT essentials, enterprise development and business skills. The academy has benefited 966 trainees since its inception four years ago.
  • Over the last two years, we have been progressively allocating our fibre-to-the-home work directly to SMMEs; since last year, we have also been engaging SMMEs that are >51% black-owned to undertake our long fibre work on critical routes.
  • In October 2017, we launched an online trade portal, creating a platform for Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMMEs) to express interest to provide goods/services to Vodacom and/or to become channel partners.
  • We have supported 12 entrepreneurs through Vodacom Lesotho’s Innovation Park, a technology-based business incubator for young entrepreneurs in Lesotho.

Sustainable cities and communities

  • We currently have 3.8 million active connections providing loT solutions in the transportation, industrial, energy, residential, property and healthcare sectors, covering end-to-end services across the full IoT value chain: connecting things; collecting the data; analysing the data; and taking action on this data click here for more info.
  • We have continued our partnership with GIZ, which provides an IoT-based solution to support smallholder farmers in South Africa. With an estimated combined investment amount of around R21 million over three years, our Cloud-based web and mobile software Connected Farmer platform will link thousands of smallholder farmers to the agriculture value chain, improving agriculture productivity, addressing food security, creating jobs and increasing incomes in the agriculture sector.
  • In keeping with our commitment to increase rural coverage, this year, we brought network coverage to the remote town of Noenieput in the Northern Cape, the culmination of many years of work of feasibility studies and planning for the network infrastructure development.
  • Extended rural coverage by adding 101 rural sites to towns that never had coverage before.

Climate action

  • We have 6 000 sites that are either free cooled or built as outdoor cabinet sites. These sites consume R72 million less energy.
  • We have 871 solar-operated sites across the Group.
  • We launched a new head office in Lesotho, the first of its kind ‘green building’ in the country; the roof is covered with solar panels generating the primary source of power for the building.


  • All of our activities in the above areas involve partnerships with business peers, government agencies, technology providers, civil society organisations, academia and/or community representatives – aimed at identifying and implementing innovative ways of using mobile and data to make a significant social contribution.

Vodacom Group on track to transformational heights

Vodacom is committed to transformation through the implementation of Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (BBBEE).

This commitment was recognised this year when Vodacom Group was awarded the Independent Top Empowered Companies Award for the Most Empowered Black-Managed Company, as well as achieving a recognition award from the BBBEE Commission for being the first company in South Africa to report fronting practices identified through its procurement processes.

Vodacom South Africa exceeded its target of Level 4 and attained a Level 3 BBBEE status, while its subsidiary Stortech retained its Level 1 rating. This resulted in the Group having a significant improvement in its overall scorecard points, moving from 101.91 points to 108.03 points.

BBBEE results for Vodacom Group

We achieved significant improvement this year in scores across the majority of the elements, resulting in an overall increase in score of 6.12 points.

Scoring element Target
Ownership 25   16.20   16.17   0.03  
Management control 23   15.72   14.79   0.93  
Board representation 8   5.83   5.33   0.50  
Top management representation 5   4.33   4.33    
Employment equity 10   5.56   5.13   0.43  
Skills development 20   19.55   17.27   2.28  
Enterprise and supplier development 50   44.79   41.68   3.11  
Procurement 25   20.55   18.00   2.55  
Supplier development 10   7.54   8.68   (1.14)  
Enterprise development 15   16.70   15.00   1.70  
Socioeconomic development 12   11.77   12.00   (0.23)  
Total 130   108.03   101.91   6.12  


The Group has an effective black ownership of 17.56%, a nominal increase from the previous year of 17.19%, resulting in a score increase of 0.03 points - 16.20 out of 25.

Management control

The Group exceeded the previous year's score of 14.79, with a score of 15.72 out of 23, as a result of transformational changes in its occupational levels under employment equity.

Skills development

Our consolidated training spend increased from R175 million to R248 million, with more than R8.5 million invested in the development of black youth living with disabilities, R5 million more than the prior year. This resulted in an impressive total score of 19.55 out of 20 points.

Enterprise and supplier development

This element has three sub-sets: procurement, supplier development (2% net profit after tax (NPAT) spend target), and enterprise development (3% NPAT spend target). Under procurement, Vodacom's commitment is demonstrated in the shift of spend to BBBEE-status suppliers and black-owned suppliers.

We spent R173 million on supplier development, up from R151 million in the prior year, targeted on developing SMMEs within Vodacom's supplier base; this included investing R14 million towards the transformation of our retail franchisee base, which resulted in 24 Vodacom shops changing ownership to black individuals. Under enterprise development, more than R388 million was invested in developing black-owned ICT SMMEs outside of Vodacom's business. The collective score for this element was 44.79 out of 50 - three points higher than the previous year.

Socioeconomic development

The Group fell slightly short of obtaining full points.

Our Report of the Social and Ethics Committee 2018

Vodacom's separate Report of the Social and Ethics Committee 2018 provides a more detailed review of the activities that we are taking to accelerate socioeconomic transformation in the markets in which we operate. The report reviews the progress we have made in 'empowering a connected society', reflecting on our performance in implementing seven of the UN Sustainable Development Goals, and it assesses our activities in 'being a leading digital company' by ensuring our operations are responsible, ethical and accountable.

For further information, read our Public Finances report 2018.