South Africa’s MNOs can expect delayed multi-spectrum in early 2022
South Africa’s fixed telecom connections are gradually being migrated from copper to fibre.
Telkom expects to complete the process by the end of 2024. As a result, the number of the company’s DSL broadband subscribers has fallen sharply in recent years.
Stimulated by demands made on broadband infrastructure during the pandemic, and on the need to improve digital services, the government in late 2021 began working on plans to roll out broadband services nationally by the end of 2023. This would update existing plans by which national coverage were expected to have been reached in 2030. Part of the wider plan includes completing the switchover to digital broadcasting by March 2022, which will release sub-GHz spectrum for mobile broadband services.
In addition, national coverage will rely on improved access to mobile broadband. The much-delayed multi-spectrum auction is scheduled by mid-2022. The MNOs have managed to address rising data traffic demand by refarming existing spectrum concessions, though 5G services are still offered under a legacy principle using existing concessions in the 3.5GHz band. Conscious that this is unsatisfactory on a number of levels, the regulator in November 2021 announced plans to issue provisional spectrum licences to MNOs under the new regulations introduced as a response to the pandemic. This will enable licensees to increase capacity and improve service quality. The provisional licences will be in effect until athe full auction is held.Key developments:
Companies mentioned in this report
- Telkom enters the mobile financial services sector, renegotiates a roaming deal with MTN;
- Government initiates plan to provide national broadband coverage by end-2023;
- Regulator to issue provisional spectrum licences under new regulations introduced as a response to the pandemic;
- Virgin Mobile stops trading in South Africa, after 15 years;
- Vodacom Group sets up its own InfraCo after acquiring a 30% stake in Vodacom Group acquired a 30% stake in CIVH, launches its VodaPay m-payment app;
- Rain launches standalone 5G network in Cape Town;
- Report update includes the regulator’s March 2021 report on the ICT sector, operator data to September 2021, updated Telecom Maturity Index charts and analyses, assessment of the global impact of Covid-19 on the telecoms sector, recent market developments.
Vodacom, MTN (MTN Network Solutions), Cell C, Telkom (Heita, 8ta), Virgin Mobile, Neotel, Atlantic Internet Services, Business Connexion, Internet Solutions, Verizon Business, MWEB, Vox Telecom (DataPro), Sentech, iBurst (WBS, Blue Label), Liquid Intelligence Technologies, Virgin Mobile, Broadband InfraCo, Transtel, Eskom, SEACOM, Transtel, Eskom, SITA, Sentech, Dark Fibre Africa (DFA), FibreCo, eFive, WASACE.