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 late 2016 was approaching 160%, driven partly by the popularity of multiple card use as also by the popular take-up of mobile broadband services. Mobile internet now accounts for more than 97% of all internet connections, and with almost two thirds of the population able to access LTE services this sector will continue to see strong growth into 2017.

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.

The network operators are increasingly forced to find innovative ways of distinguishing themselves from competitors in order to acquire and retain customers, and to streamline their operations. There has been speculation about mergers and acquisitions among the smaller players, and major infrastructure sharing deals have been concluded. Several Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs) have entered the market, adding to the competitive mix.

Key developments:

Regulator forced to push back LTE spectrum auction to May 2017; PIC cancels plan to sell a stake in Vodacom; Vodacom and MTN trial LTE-Unlicensed services; Wireless Business Solutions planning national LTE-A network rollout; Telkom to re-farm some of its 1.8GHz allocation for LTE services; Vodacom ends M-Pesa service in South Africa; Cell C launches commercial LTE-A services; Vodacom calls off planned takeover of Neotel; Nashua Mobile winds down, sells subscriber base to Vodacom and MTN; Vodacom launches VoLTE services; Afrihost launches fixed-wireless LTE services; revised MTRs set to September 2017; SMS platform facing stiffening competition from WhatsApp and other OTT services; report update includes the regulator’s 2015 market report, telcos’ operational and financial data to Q2 2016, recent market developments.

Companies mentioned in this report:

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

Table of Contents

  • 1. Synopsis
  • 2. Market analysis
  • 3. Mobile statistics
    • 3.1 General statistics
    • 3.2 Mobile voice (VoLTE/Wi-Fi calling
    • 3.3 Mobile data
      • 3.3.1 SMS
      • 3.3.2 MMS
    • 3.4 Mobile broadband
    • 3.5 Forecasts – mobile subscribers – 2016; 2018; 2021
      • 3.5.1 Notes on scenario forecasts
  • 4. Regulatory issues
    • 4.1 Spectrum
      • 4.1.1 LTE, WiMAX (800MHz, 2.6 and 3.5GHz)
      • 4.1.2 2GHz
      • 4.1.3 800MHz
      • 4.1.4 Multi-spectrum auction 2017
    • 4.2 Mobile Termination Rates (MTRs)
    • 4.3 Mobile Number Portability (MNP)
    • 4.4 International gateways
    • 4.5 SIM card registration
    • 4.6 Quality of service (QoS)
    • 4.7 Market liberalisation and licence obligations
    • 4.8 Community service telephones (CST)
    • 4.9 Infrastructure sharing
  • 5. Mobile infrastructure
    • 5.1 Digital networks
      • 5.1.1 GSM
      • 5.1.2 3G
      • 5.1.3 Long-term Evolution (LTE)
    • 5.2 Other infrastructure developments
      • 5.2.1 WAP
      • 5.2.2 GPRS
      • 5.2.3 EDGE
      • 5.2.4 High Sped Packet Access (HSPA)
    • 5.3 M2M networks
  • 6. Major mobile operators
    • 6.1 Vodacom South Africa
      • 6.1.1 Vodacom and wireless broadband
    • 6.2 MTN South Africa
      • 6.2.1 MTN Zone
    • 6.3 Cell C
    • 6.4 Telkom Mobile (8ta)
    • 6.5 Mobile Virtual Network Enablers (MVNEs)
    • 6.6 Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs)
  • 7. Mobile content and applications
    • 7.1 Push-to-Talk (PTT)
    • 7.2 Mobile TV
    • 7.3 Mobile music
    • 7.4 CellBook
    • 7.5 m-banking
    • 7.6 m-money
      • 7.6.1 WeChat
    • 7.7 m-commerce
    • 7.8 m-gaming
    • 7.9 m-health
    • 7.10 Mobile advertising
    • 7.11 Location-based services (LBS)
    • 7.12 Manobi
    • 7.13 Mobile social media
  • 8. Mobile handsets
  • 9. Related reports
  • Table 1 – Mobile revenue by sector – 2015
  • Table 2 – Historic - Mobile subscribers and penetration rate in South Africa – 1999 - 2009
  • Table 3 – Mobile subscribers and penetration rate in South Africa – 2010 - 2017
  • Table 4 – Active mobile broadband subscribers – 2010 - 2015
  • Table 5 – Forecast mobile subscribers in South Africa – 2015; 2018; 2021
  • Table 6 – Vodacom South Africa M2M connections – 2011 - 2015
  • Table 7 – Vodacom South Africa mobile revenue – 2010 - 2016
  • Table 8 – Vodacom South Africa subscribers and market share – 2002 - 2016
  • Table 9 – Vodacom South Africa mobile data subscribers – 2013 - 2016
  • Table 10 – Vodacom South Africa key statistics – 2014 - 2016
  • Table 11 – MTN South Africa subscribers and market share – 2002 - 2016
  • Table 12 – MTN South Africa financial data – 2012 - 2016
  • Table 13 – MTN South Africa key statistics – quarter ended June 2016
  • Table 14 – Cell C mobile subscribers – 2013 - 2015
  • Table 15 – Telkom mobile subscribers – 2009 - 2016
  • Table 16 – Telkom mobile financial data – 2014 - 2016
  • Table 17 – Telkom mobile ARPU – 2014 - 2016
  • Table 18 – Telkom fixed and mobile data traffic – 2014 - 2016
  • Table 19 – Vodacom South Africa active data devices by type – 2012 – 2014
  • Chart 1 – Mobile subscribers and penetration rate in South Africa – 2005 - 2017
  • Chart 2 – Vodacom South Africa mobile revenue – 2010 – 2016
  • Exhibit 1 – Spotlight on Vodacom GSM community payphones

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