South Africa Telecommunications Report

Providing expert analysis, independent forecasts and competitive intelligence on the telecommunications industry.

Report includes: BMI Industry View, Industry SWOT Analysis, BMI Industry Forecast Scenario, Telecommunications Risk Reward Index, Market Overview, Regulatory Environment, Company Profiles and Competitive

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South Africa Telecommunications Report
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BMI View: This quarter sees some slight revisions to our forecasts for South Africa ' s mobile and broadband subscriber markets. The mobile market outperformed our expectations in 2015, adding over 8mn subscribers in the 12 months to December. 3G and 4G services continue to experience strong uptake and are having a positive impact on non-voice service revenues. In January 2016, all three carriers showcased their LTE-Advanced technology and we believe that they will roll-out LTE-Advanced services commercially over the course of 2016 . Further market consolidation is expected, despite the collapse of mobile market leader Vodacom's attempt to acquire fixed-line network operator Neotel, and t he decision by market incumbent, Telekom South Africa, to call off its attempt to acquire the country's third largest operator, Cell C . However, w ith downwards pressure on traditional voice ARPUs and with a renewed focus on data, Telekom will continue to look for a way of strengthen ing its position in the mobile market. Meanwhile, Vodacom remains committed to strengthen its position in the wireline market and Tata Communications, the parent company of Neotel, is reportedly already looking for a new buyer for its South African subsidiary .

Latest Updates & Industry Developments

  • The South African mobile market grew higher than forecast in 2015 as the market added an impressive 8.14mn subscribers. Our revised forecast now envisages a market with over 97mn subscribers in 2020.

  • The main source of future growth in the mobile market will be the development of 3G and 4G services. We currently anticipate 47.7mn 3G and 4G subscriptions by the end of our forecast period in 2020. The latest investments in developing and preparing the commercial launch of LTE-Advanced services by all major operators are a clear signal that the operators are preparing for intense competition based on the delivery of data services.

  • Our revised forecast for South Africa's broadband sector envisages the number of broadband subscriptions increasing from 8.15mn in 2015 to over 9.4mn in 2020, equivalent to a penetration rate of 16.6%. Increasing competition and investment pose an upside risk to this forecast.

3G & 4G Subscriptions To Represent Half The Market By 2020
South African Mobile Market (2013-2020)
e/f = BMI estimate/forecast. Source: BMI, operators
BMI Industry View
Latest Updates & Industry Developments
Industry Forecast
Latest Updates
Structural Trends
Table: Telecoms Sector - Historical Data & Forecasts (South Africa 2013-2020)
Industry Risk Reward Index
Sub-Saharan Africa Risk/Reward Index
Table: Sub-Saharan Africa Risk/Reward Index, Q3 2016
South Africa Risk/Reward Index
Market Overview
Market Drivers & Trends
Wireline Voice & Broadband
Table: Telkom Fixed Telephony Access Lines ('000)
Table: Telkom Internet Subscriptions
Table: Recent Fibre Developments
Regulatory Development
South Africa - Regulatory Bodies And Their Responsibilities
Table: Competition Commission (CompCom)
Table: Department of Communications (DoC)
Table: Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA)
Latest Developments
Table: National Broadband Policy Access Targets
Competitive Landscape
Table: Key Players
Source: Operator data
Table: Market Overview 2014-2015
Table: Vodacom
Table: MTN
Table: Cell C
Table: 8ta - Telkom South Africa
Table: Virgin Mobile
Company Profile
Cell C
Demographic Forecast
Demographic Outlook
Table: Population Headline Indicators (South Africa 1990-2025)
Table: Key Population Ratios (South Africa 1990-2025)
Table: Urban/Rural Population & Life Expectancy (South Africa 1990-2025)
Table: Population By Age Group (South Africa 1990-2025)
Table: Population By Age Group % (South Africa 1990-2025)
Table: Glossary Of Terms
Industry Forecast Methodology
Risk/Reward Index Methodology
Table: Risk/Reward Index Indicators
Table: Weighting Of Indicators

The South Africa Telecommunications Report features BMI Research's independent industry forecasts on the future strength of South Africa's ICT market, covering the fixed-line, mobile and internet segments and analyses latest regulatory developments and corporate news, including investment activity, mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures and partnerships. Leading operators and manufacturers are fully profiled, highlighting their quarterly financial performance, capital expenditure plans and latest contracts.

BMI's South Africa Telecommunications Report provides industry professionals and researchers, operators, equipment suppliers and vendors, corporate and financial services analysts and regulatory bodies with independent forecasts and competitive intelligence on the telecoms industry in South Africa.

Key Benefits

  • Benchmark BMI's independent telecoms industry forecasts for South Africa to test other views - a key input for successful budgeting and strategic business planning in the South African telecoms market.
  • Target business opportunities and risks in South Africa's telecoms sector through our reviews of latest industry trends, regulatory changes and major deals, projects and investments in South Africa.
  • Assess the activities, strategy and market position of your competitors, partners and clients via our Company Profiles (inc. SWOTs, KPIs and latest activity).


BMI Industry View

Summary of BMI’s key industry forecasts and views, covering the ARPU, fixed-line, mobile (including 3G & 4G), internet and broadband markets.

Industry SWOT Analysis

Analysis of the major Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats within the wireline and wireless sectors and within the broader political, economic and business environment.

BMI Industry Forecast Scenario

Historic data series (2010-2013) and forecasts to end-2019 for all key industry indicators, supported by explicit assumptions, plus analysis of key downside risks to the main forecast.

  • Fixed-line Telephony – Telephone lines (‘000); telephone lines/100 inhabitants.
  • Cellular Telephony – Mobile phone subscribers (‘000); mobile phone subscribers/100 inhabitants; and where available, 3G & 4G subscribers (‘000); 3G & 4G subscribers/100 inhabitants; 3G & 4G subscribers as a percentage of overall mobile market.
  • Internet Markets – Internet users (‘000); internet users/100 inhabitants; broadband internet subscribers (‘000); broadband internet subscribers/100 inhabitants.

BMI’s Telecommunications Risk Reward Index

BMI’s Risk Reward Indices provide investors (vendors, operators and suppliers) looking for opportunities in the region with a clear country comparative assessment of a market’s risks and potential rewards. Each of the country markets are scored using a sophisticated model that includes more than 40 industry, economic and demographic data points to provide an Indices of highest to lowest appeal to investors, with each position explained.

Market Data Analysis

Detailed market analysis of the mobile, mobile content, fixed-line and internet segments, broken down into:

  • Market Data – Analysis of market size, operator shares, dominant trends, competitive landscape and key quarterly data.
  • Technology/Service Rollout – Analysis of rollout/adoption of new technology, such as 3G & 4G, WiMAX, IPTV, pay-TV, LTE and valueadded handset services (gaming, music, video, apps etc.).
  • Mobile Content – The latest trends in content and services available and being introduced by mobile operators, including a timeline of all the latest major mobile content developments.
    Company Database – A comprehensive breakdown of KPIs of the leading mobile operators, including subscriber figures by type (pre-paid and post-paid); 3G & 4G subscriber figures; net additions; market share; ARPU; churn rates; minutes of use; voice and non-voice revenue; financial figures (including operating revenues, net profits and EBITDA).

Regulatory Environment

Details of the regulatory bodies and their responsibilities, as well as a special focus on the rules surrounding competition and interconnection. Also covers the latest updates in the market’s development and regulatory rulings.

Company Profiles*

Examines the competitive positioning and short- to medium-term business strategies of key industry players. Strategy is examined within the context of BMI’s industry forecasts, our macroeconomic views and our understanding of the wider competitive landscape to generate Company SWOT analyses. The latest financial and operating statistics and key company developments are also incorporated within the company profiles, enabling a full evaluation of recent company performance and future growth prospects.


The Telecommunications Reports draw on an extensive network of primary sources, such as multilateral organisations, government departments, industry associations, chambers and company reports.

*Company profiles are not available for every country. Those reports instead contain information on the current activities of prominent companies operating in the market.