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Vodafone Uses Voiceless Africa Plans to Get Tech-Savvy Youth

  • Customers rely on Whatsapp to make calls with data service
  • Renewed expansion in region looks beyond economic slowdown
A customer stands at the service desk inside a Vodacom store at Vodaworld, the headquarters of Vodacom Group Ltd., Vodafone's biggest African business, in Johannesburg, South Africa, on Monday, January 28, 2013. Almost two decades after Vodafone Group Plc entered Africa, the region -- where most people earn less than $2 a day and mobile phone towers run on diesel -- is turning into one of the company's biggest profit generators.
Photographer: Nadine Hutton/Bloomberg
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Inside a packed Vodafone Group Plc store in the Zambian capital of Lusaka, a group of the city’s tech-savvy students wait in line for wireless modems they hope will transform their ability to surf the internet. 

They don’t even care that they won’t be able to get a voice plan to talk over the British mobile operator’s network since Vodafone doesn’t have a license for that.