South Africa’s telecom sector boasts the continent’s most advanced networks in terms of technology deployed and services provided. In a virtually saturated voice market, four mobile networks are competing for market share in the next growth wave, mobile broadband. Following years of delays with its licensing, the second fixed-line operator Neotel is gaining market share in competition with the incumbent, Telkom SA. This, in combination with other sweeping liberalisation measures – also delayed by years – has changed the country’s telecoms landscape fundamentally and brought prices down. Under a converging regulatory regime, hundreds of alternative service providers are pushing into the market with converged services.
The end of Telkom’s monopoly on international submarine fibre optic cables has reduced the cost of telecommunication in South Africa dramatically. Three new cables have reached the country in the past few years despite regulatory hurdles.
Key regulatory matters currently shaping the market are the licensing of WiMAX and LTE spectrum as well as 'digital dividend' spectrum, the unbundling of the local loop (ULL, or LLU), the staged reduction of interconnect charges, and a review of the broadcasting regulatory framework.
- Licensing of LTE, WiMAX and 'digital dividend' frequency spectrum;
- Local loop unbundling (LLU, ULL);
- Lower interconnect charges.
Companies covered in this report:
Telkom SA, Neotel, Vodacom, MTN, Cell C, Virgin Mobile, Broadband InfraCo, Transtel, Eskom, Seacom.