South Africa - Telecoms Infrastructure, Operators, Regulations - Statistics and Analyses
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.
The end of Telkom's monopoly on international submarine fibre optic cables also reduced the cost of telecom services dramatically. A new cable, expected to come online at the end of 2017, will further increase international bandwidth and so improve services generally.
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 Sentechs satellite service to create a national broadband network managed by a single broadband provider.
The major mobile network operators, Vodacom, MTN and Cell C, 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 are implementing their own metropolitan fibre and wireless broadband networks, while several Fibre-to-the-Premises (FttP) deployments are underway.
Neotel rebrands as Liquid Telecom South Africa; Orange Group opens two PoPs in Cape Town and Johannesburg, providing additional wholesale internet connectivity; regulator and USAASA seek to raise ZAR100 billion for ICT projects by increasing USAF levy to 1% of operator revenue; Telkom acquires BCX; work begins on the Modderfontein Smart City development; Constantia Fibre Initiative (CFI) to build an open access FttP network in Cape Town; Vodacom contracts Alcatel-Lucent to build a GPON FttP converged network; 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, Telkom, Neotel (Tata), Vodacom, MTN, Broadband InfraCo, Transtel, Eskom, SITA, Sentech, SEACOM, Dark Fibre Africa (DFA), Internet Solutions, FibreCo, eFive, WASACE.
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