South Africa - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband - Statistics and Analyses
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 Sentechs 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.
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).