South Africa - Mobile Infrastructure, Operators and Broadband - Statistics and Analyses

Synopsis

South Africa’s mature mobile market has seen rapid growth since competition was introduced to the sector in the 1990s. SIM card penetration by the beginning of 2019 was about 169%, driven partly by the popularity of multiple card use as also by the take-up of mobile broadband services. Mobile internet accounts for about 95% of all internet connections, and with about 94% of the population able to access WiMAX/LTE services this sector will continue to see strong growth in coming years.

South Africa also promises to be one of the first countries in the region to launch 5G services, following ongoing investment from Rain, Vodacom and MTN. In addition, Helios Towers in March 2019 announced plans to build 1,000 towers in the country in preparation for 5G.

While the major mobile operators have become the country’s leading broadband providers, they have also branched out into providing fixed services, fibre backbone networks, international fibre connectivity, mobile banking and mobile entertainment in a rapidly converging environment. The fixed-line incumbent Telkom has reacted to these market dynamics by launching its own mobile network. Several Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs) have entered the market, adding to the competitive mix.

Key developments:

  • Telkom signs roaming and facilities leasing agreement with MTN;
  • Delayed spectrum auction rescheduled for 2019;
  • Telkom completes Massive MIMO technology trials, aims to decommission 2G infrastructure;
  • Comsol starts 5G fixed-wireless trials using spectrum in the 28MHz band;
  • Regulator sets MTRs through to October 2020;
  • Telkom re-farms 1.8GHz allocation for LTE services;
  • Cell C launches commercial LTE-A services;
  • Report update includes the regulator's the regulator's March 2018 report on the ICT sector, operator data to December 2018.

Companies mentioned in this report:

Vodacom, MTN, Cell C, Telkom (Heita, 8ta), Virgin Mobile.

Table of Contents

  • Market analysis

  • Mobile statistics

    • General statistics
    • Mobile voice (VoLTE/Wi-Fi calling)
    • Mobile data
      • SMS
      • MMS
    • Mobile broadband
    • Forecasts – mobile subscribers – 2019; 2021; 2023
  • Regulatory issues

    • Spectrum
      • LTE, WiMAX (800MHz, 2.6 and 3.5GHz)
      • 2GHz
      • 800MHz
      • Multi-spectrum auction 2019
    • Mobile Termination Rates (MTRs)
    • Mobile Number Portability (MNP)
    • SIM card registration
    • Infrastructure sharing
    • Roaming
  • Mobile infrastructure

    • 5G
    • 4G (LTE)
      • LTE-U
    • 3G
    • GSM
    • M2M networks
    • NB-IoT
  • Major mobile operators

    • Vodacom South Africa
    • MTN South Africa
    • Cell C
    • Telkom Mobile
    • Mobile Virtual Network Enablers (MVNEs)
    • Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs)
  • Mobile content and applications

    • m- music
    • CellBook
    • m-banking
    • m-gaming
    • m-health
    • Mobile advertising
    • Location-based services (LBS)
    • Manobi
    • Mobile social media
  • Related reports


List of Tables

  • Table 1 –Mobile sector revenue – 2015 – 2018
  • Table 2 – Mobile revenue by sector – 2015 – 2018
  • Table 3 – Mobile prepaid revenue by type – 2015 – 2018
  • Table 4 – Historic - Mobile subscribers and penetration rate in South Africa – 1999 – 2009
  • Table 5 – Mobile subscribers and penetration rate in South Africa – 2010 – 2019
  • Table 6 –Mobile voice traffic – 2015 – 2018
  • Table 7 – SMS traffic – 2013 – 2019
  • Table 8 – Active mobile broadband subscribers – 2010 – 2018
  • Table 9 – Telkom mobile broadband subscribers by type – 2015 – 2018
  • Table 10 – Telkom mobile broadband revenue – 2015 – 2018
  • Table 11 – Telkom mobile data traffic – 2015 – 2018
  • Table 12 – Mobile data traffic – 2015 – 2017
  • Table 13 – Mobile data subscribers – 2015 – 2018
  • Table 14 – Forecast mobile subscribers in South Africa – 2019; 2021; 2023
  • Table 15 – Telkom LTE subscribers – 2016 – 2018
  • Table 16 – 4G (WiMAX/LTE) population coverage – 2012 – 2018
  • Table 17 – 3G population coverage – 2015 – 2018
  • Table 18 – M2M connections – 2015 – 2018
  • Table 19 – Vodacom South Africa mobile revenue – 2010 – 2019
  • Table 20 – Vodacom South Africa subscribers and market share – 2002 - 2018
  • Table 21 – Vodacom South Africa mobile data subscribers – 2013 – 2018
  • Table 22 – MTN South Africa subscribers and market share – 2002 – 2018
  • Table 23 – MTN South Africa financial data – 2012 – 2018
  • Table 24 – MTN South Africa mobile ARPU – 2013 – 2018
  • Table 25 – Cell C mobile subscribers – 2013 – 2018
  • Table 26 – Cell C mobile service revenue – 2013 – 2018
  • Table 27 – Cell C mobile data revenue – 2017 – 2018
  • Table 28 – Cell C financial data – 2016 – 2017
  • Table 29 – Telkom mobile subscribers – 2009 – 2018
  • Table 30 – Telkom prepaid and contract mobile subscribers – 2015 – 2018
  • Table 31 – Telkom mobile financial data – 2014 - 2019
  • Table 32 – Telkom mobile ARPU – 2014 – 2019
  • Table 33 – Telkom mobile data traffic – 2017 – 2019

List of Charts

  • Chart 1 – Mobile revenue by sector – 2015 – 2018
  • Chart 2 – Mobile prepaid revenue by type – 2015 – 2018
  • Chart 3 – Mobile subscribers and penetration rate in South Africa – 2005 – 2019
  • Chart 4 – Active mobile broadband subscribers – 2010 – 2018
  • Chart 5 – Vodacom South Africa mobile revenue – 2010 – 2019
  • Chart 6 – Telkom mobile ARPU – 2014 – 2019

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