South Africa - Fixed-line Market and Fibre Infrastructure - Insights and Statistics
South Africa's second national operator Neotel has been gaining market share in competition with fixed-line incumbent, Telkom SA. It is now in the process of being acquired by Vodacom, the country's leading mobile network operator. Neotel is using wireless technologies such as CDMA-2000, WiMAX and LTE to provide alternatives to Telkom's copper access network. Having bought and leased national fibre infrastructure from parastatals Transtel and Eskom and building its own fibre backbone network in parallel, Neotel is also operating as a provider of wholesale national and international connectivity to the business sector.
While Neotels financial performance has been improving, Telkom has been struggling since it divested its share in Vodacom and started its own mobile business which it is now looking to sell. The company has also made losses with international investments and legal disputes and has been fined for anticompetitive behaviour.
To create more competition, the government has created Broadband InfraCo, a national infrastructure company to provide cheap backbone network capacity to service providers. The major mobile network operators, Vodacom and MTN, have also moved into the fixed-line and national fibre sector under a converged, service-neutral licensing regime. In addition, many municipalities in South Africa, including the country's largest cities, are implementing their own metropolitan fibre and wireless broadband networks. Several Fibre-to-the-Premises (FttP) deployments are underway.
All of the major players are involved in the various international submarine fibre optic cables that have reached the country in the past few years. This has brought down the cost of international bandwidth dramatically. Previously, Telkom had been monopolising access to the only major cable serving the country. Several additional terabit cables were lit in 2014, connecting Africa directly to the Americas.
Telkom acquires BCX; work begins on the Modderfontein Smart city development; Constantia Fibre Initiative (CFI) announces plans to build an open access FttP network in Cape Town; Telkom launches Single Number service, writes off legacy assets, invests billions into broadband infrastructure; Neotel takeover by Vodacom; many new national and metropolitan fibre network rollouts, including FttP; Vodacom contracts Alcatel-Lucent to build a GPON FttP converged network; new international fibre optic submarine cables planned into 2015; theft of copper endangering telecom infrastructure; Vodacom contracts Alcatel-Lucent to build GPON network.
Companies mentioned in this report:
Telkom, Neotel (Tata), Vodacom, MTN, Broadband InfraCo, Transtel, Eskom, SITA, Sentech, Seacom, Dark Fibre Africa (DFA), Internet Solutions, FibreCo, eFive, WASACE.