South Africa - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband - Statistics and Analyses

Publication Overview

This report provides a comprehensive overview of trends and developments in South Africa’s telecommunications market. The report analyses the fixed-line, mobile and broadband sectors. Subjects include:

  • Market and industry analyses, trends and developments;
  • Facts, figures and statistics;
  • Industry and regulatory issues;
  • Infrastructure developments;
  • Major Players, Revenues, Subscribers, ARPU, MoU;
  • Mobile Voice and Data Markets;
  • Broadband (FttP, DSL, cable, wireless);
  • Mobile subscribers and ARPU;
  • Broadband and mobile market forecasts;
  • Government policies affecting the telecoms industry;
  • Market liberalisation and industry issues;
  • Telecoms operators – privatisation, IPOs, acquisitions, new licences;
  • Mobile technologies (GSM; 3G, HSPA, LTE, 5G).

Reseracher: Henry Lancaster
Current publication date:- November 2016 (15th Edition)

Executive Summary

South Africa’s telecom regulator conducts mobile data pricing study

South Africa’s telecom sector boasts one of the most advanced infrastructures on the continent. There is now considerable investment from Telkom, Liquid Telecom South Africa, Broadband InfraCo and municipal providers. Nevertheless, the poor historic availability and level of service of fixed-line networks encouraged the growth of the mobile sector for both voice and data services and this segment commands most investment and effort among telcos. Under a converging regulatory regime hundreds of alternative service providers have been able to enter the market to offer a range of services.

Other key regulatory matters aimed at shaping the market include the licensing of LTE spectrum. This was anticipated in late 2016 but in February the auction of spectrum in several bands was put on hold indefinitely. This has caused some difficulties for mobile network operators, which are desperately short of spectrum and which have had to rely on spectrum refarming and other measures to increase network capacity.

To create more competition, the government created Broadband InfraCo, a national infrastructure company to provide cheap backbone network capacity to service providers. In September 2017 the government considered a plan to merge Broadband Infraco with Sentech's satellite service to create a national broadband network managed by a single broadband provider.

The mature mobile market has seen rapid growth since competition was introduced to the sector in the 1990s. SIM card penetration by late 2017 was approaching 143%, 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.

Key developments:

  • Neotel rebranded as Liquid Telecom South Africa;
  • Orange Group opens two PoPs in Cape Town and Johannesburg, providing additional wholesale internet connectivity;
  • Regulator to conduct mobile data pricing study, ready for March 2018;
  • Comsol announces 5G fixed-wireless trials using spectrum in the 28MHz band;
  • MTN trials LTE-LAA network providing data at over 400Mb/s;
  • Regulator pushes back LTE spectrum auction until further notice;
  • Vodacom and MTN trial LTE-Unlicensed services;
  • Regulator extends MTRs until September 2018;
  • Telkom FttC infrastructure passing close to two million premises;
  • MTN increases investment in fibre infrastructure by 170% in H1 2017;
  • Department of Telecommunications allocates ZAR1.4 billion to pursue broadband initiatives;
  • Report update includes the regulator’s March 2017 report on the ICT sector, operator data to March 2017.

Companies mentioned in this report:

Telkom, Liquid Telecom South Africa (Neotel), Vodacom, MTN, Cell C, Virgin Mobile, Broadband InfraCo, Transtel, Eskom, SEACOM, SITA, Sentech, Dark Fibre Africa (DFA), Internet Solutions, FibreCo, eFive, WASACE, Atlantic Internet Services, Business Connexion, Internet Solutions, Verizon Business, MWEB, Vox Telecom (DataPro), iBurst (Rain, WBS, Blue Label).

Table of Contents

  • 1. Key statistics
    • 1.1 Country overview
  • 2. Telecommunications market
    • 2.1 Historical overview
  • 3. Regulatory environment
    • 3.1 Historical overview
    • 3.2 Regulatory authority
    • 3.3 Telecommunications Amendment Act
    • 3.4 Regulation of Interception of Communications Act 2002
    • 3.5 Electronic Communications Act and ICASA Amendment Act
    • 3.6 Converged licensing regime
    • 3.7 New Companies Act
    • 3.8 Universal Service and Access Fund (USAF)
    • 3.9 Interconnection
    • 3.10 Telecom sector liberalisation
      • 3.10.1 Overview
      • 3.10.2 Privatisation of Telkom
      • 3.10.3 Under-Serviced Area Licences (USALs)
      • 3.10.4 Number Portability (NP)
      • 3.10.5 Carrier pre-selection (CPS)
      • 3.10.6 Local Loop Unbundling (LLU)
  • 4. Fixed network operators
    • 4.1 Telkom
    • 4.2 Neotel
  • 5. Telecommunications infrastructure
    • 5.1 Overview of the national telecom network
    • 5.2 National fibre infrastructure
      • 5.2.1 Broadband InfraCo
      • 5.2.2 Dark Fibre Africa
      • 5.2.3 FibreCo
    • 5.3 VoIP
    • 5.4 International submarine cables
      • 5.4.1 SAT-3/WASC/SAFE
      • 5.4.2 SEACOM
      • 5.4.3 EASSy
      • 5.4.4 WACS
      • 5.4.5 African Coast to Europe (ACE)
      • 5.4.6 SAEx, WASACE
    • 5.5 Satellite
    • 5.6 Next Generation Networks (NGN)
    • 5.7 Municipal networks
      • 5.7.1 Knysna – Africa’s first municipal network
    • 5.8 Data centres
    • 5.9 Smart infrastructure
      • 5.9.1 Smart cities
  • 6. Broadband market
    • 6.1 Introduction and statistical overview
      • 6.1.1 Market analysis
      • 6.1.2 Community access projects
      • 6.1.3 Internet Service Providers Association (ISPA)
      • 6.1.4 Internet Exchange Points (IXP)
      • 6.1.5 Broadband statistics
      • 6.1.6 Forecasts – broadband subscribers – 2018; 2020; 2022
    • 6.2 Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) networks
      • 6.2.1 Introduction
      • 6.2.2 Wholesale
      • 6.2.3 Fibre-to-the-Premises (FttP) networks
    • 6.3 Other fixed broadband services
      • 6.3.1 Broadband over Powerlines (BPL)
      • 6.3.2 Fixed wireless
  • 7. Digital economy
    • 7.1 E-learning
    • 7.2 E-government
    • 7.3 E-health
    • 7.4 E-banking
  • 8. Mobile communications
    • 8.1 Market analysis
    • 8.2 Mobile statistics
      • 8.2.1 General statistics
      • 8.2.2 Mobile voice (VoLTE/Wi-Fi calling
      • 8.2.3 Mobile data
      • 8.2.4 Mobile broadband
      • 8.2.5 Forecasts – mobile subscribers – 2018; 2020; 2022
    • 8.3 Regulatory issues
      • 8.3.1 Spectrum
      • 8.3.2 Mobile Termination Rates (MTRs)
      • 8.3.3 Mobile Number Portability (MNP)
      • 8.3.4 SIM card registration
      • 8.3.5 Infrastructure sharing
      • 8.3.6 Roaming
    • 8.4 Mobile infrastructure
      • 8.4.1 Digital networks
      • 8.4.2 M2M networks
    • 8.5 Major mobile operators
      • 8.5.1 Vodacom South Africa
      • 8.5.2 MTN South Africa
      • 8.5.3 Cell C
      • 8.5.4 Telkom Mobile
      • 8.5.5 Mobile Virtual Network Enablers (MVNEs)
      • 8.5.6 Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs)
    • 8.6 Mobile content and applications
      • 8.6.1 Mobile music
      • 8.6.2 CellBook
      • 8.6.3 m-banking
      • 8.6.4 m-gaming
      • 8.6.5 m-health
      • 8.6.6 Mobile advertising
      • 8.6.7 Location-based services (LBS)
      • 8.6.8 Manobi
      • 8.6.9 Mobile social media
      • Table 1 – Country statistics – 2017 (e)
      • Table 2 – Fixed-line network statistics – 2017 (e)
      • Table 3 – Internet provider statistics – 2017
      • Table 4 – Internet and broadband statistics – 2017 (e)
      • Table 5 – Mobile statistics – 2017 (e)
      • Table 6 – National telecommunications authorities
      • Table 7 – Telecom sector investment – 2015
      • Table 8 – Telecom sector investment – 2015
      • Table 9 – Fixed revenue by sector – 2015 - 2016
      • Table 10 – Telecom sector revenue by service – 2015 - 2016
      • Table 11 – Telecom and broadcasting revenue – 2015 - 2016
      • Table 12 – Fixed and mobile telephony access by household – 2014 - 2015
      • Table 13 – Telkom principal shareholders – 2017
      • Table 16 – Fixed lines in service and teledensity in South Africa – 2000 - 2018
      • Table 17 – VoIP subscriptions – 2015 - 2016
      • Table 18 – International internet bandwidth – 2000 - 2016
      • Table 19 – National Broadband Policy penetration targets to 2030
      • Table 20 – Average internet access speed – 2010 - 2015
      • Table 21 – Internet revenue – 2015 - 2016
      • Table 22 – Internet revenue by sector – 2015 - 2016
      • Table 23 – Historic - Internet users and penetration rate in South Africa – 1999 - 2009
      • Table 24 – Internet users and penetration rate in South Africa – 2010 - 2022
      • Table 25 – Fixed-line broadband subscribers and penetration in South Africa – 2002 - 2018
      • Table 26 – Forecast fixed broadband subscribers in South Africa – 2018; 2020; 2022
      • Table 27 – Telkom South Africa broadband subscribers – 2003 - 2017
      • Table 28 – Telkom fixed data traffic – 2014 - 2016
      • Table 29 – Telkom South Africa fibre broadband subscribers – 2016 - 2017
      • Table 30 – Fibre broadband subscribers – 2013 - 2017
      • Table 31 – Telkom South Africa WiMAX subscribers – 2008 - 2014
      • Table 32 –Mobile sector revenue – 2015 - 2016
      • Table 33 – Mobile revenue by sector – 2015 - 2016
      • Table 34 – Historic - Mobile subscribers and penetration rate in South Africa – 1999 - 2009
      • Table 35 – Mobile subscribers and penetration rate in South Africa – 2010 - 2018
      • Table 36 – Active mobile broadband subscribers – 2010 - 2018
      • Table 37 – Telkom mobile broadband subscribers by type – 2015 - 2017
      • Table 38 – Telkom mobile broadband revenue – 2015 - 2017
      • Table 39 – Telkom mobile data traffic – 2015 - 2017
      • Table 40 – Forecast mobile subscribers in South Africa – 2018; 2020; 2022
      • Table 41 – Mobile numbers ported – 2014 - 2015
      • Table 42 – 4G (WiMAX/LTE) population coverage – 2012 - 2017
      • Table 43 – Vodacom South Africa M2M connections – 2011 - 2015
      • Table 44 – Vodacom South Africa mobile revenue – 2010 - 2017
      • Table 45 – Vodacom South Africa subscribers and market share – 2002 - 2016
      • Table 46 – Vodacom South Africa mobile data subscribers – 2013 - 2017
      • Table 47 – MTN South Africa subscribers and market share – 2002 - 2017
      • Table 48 – MTN South Africa financial data – 2012 - 2017
      • Table 49 – MTN South Africa mobile ARPU – 2013 - 2017
      • Table 50 – Cell C registered mobile subscribers – 2013 - 2016
      • Table 51 – Telkom mobile subscribers – 2009 - 2017
      • Table 52 – Telkom prepaid and contract mobile subscribers – 2014 - 2017
      • Table 53 – Telkom mobile financial data – 2014 - 2017
      • Table 54 – Telkom mobile ARPU – 2014 - 2017
      • Chart 1 – Fixed lines in service and teledensity in South Africa – 2005 - 2018
      • Chart 2 – Internet users and penetration rate in South Africa – 2005 - 2022
      • Chart 3 – Mobile subscribers and penetration rate in South Africa – 2005 - 2018
      • Chart 4 – Vodacom South Africa mobile revenue – 2010 – 2017
      • Exhibit 1 – Large ISPA members

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