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

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Last updated: 2 May 2019 Update History

Report Status: Archived

Report Pages: 56


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.

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