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South African operator forecasts strong growth

OXFORD, United Kingdom-By 2007, the number of cell-phone users in South Africa will be 19 million-double the current number-claimed the country’s largest operator, Vodacom. The company, which recently responded to the entry of a third operator by drastically cutting prices, currently connects almost six out of 10 mobile users in South Africa and is expected to make further prices cuts to drive growth in a market where one in four people already own mobile phones.

Vodacom, which is 50-percent owned by state telephone monopoly Telkom and 31.5-percent by Vodafone Group, said its subscribers increased 18 percent to 6.86 million in the six months ending 31 March, while rival operators Mobile Telephony Networks (MTN) had 3.9 million and Cell C about 500,000 users.

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