Vodacom Agrees to Deezer Deal to Provide Music to South Africans

Vodacom Group Ltd., the largest mobile-phone operator in South Africa by subscribers, agreed to a partnership with Deezer to offer customers music-streaming services.

Vodacom will offer free access to Deezer’s premium service for a limited period and will then charge 59.99 rand ($5.45) a month, the Johannesburg-based company said in a statement today. Bloomberg News reported on the deal with Paris-based Deezer on Oct. 6.

“The trend is moving away from ownership toward access,” Chief Commercial Officer Phil Patel said. The wireless carrier had earlier held talks with Spotify Ltd., the main global competitor of Deezer, people familiar with the matter said in June.

Vodacom shares gained 1.8 percent to 128.60 rand as of 11:20 a.m. in Johannesburg, paring the year’s decline to 3.4 percent. MTN Group Ltd., the company’s biggest competitor in South Africa, has increased 11 percent in 2014.

The agreement gives closely held Deezer access to more than 32 million Vodacom customers in South Africa, a boon to the French company as it competes with streaming services such as Sweden’s Spotify and Pandora Media Inc. of the U.S. Both companies have yet to announce any significant presence in Africa.

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