Fixed lines at Telkom plunge to below a million

The number of fixed lines in service at Telkom has plunged below a million for the first time as the telecommunications group continues to decommission its legacy copper network.

Telkom revealed on Tuesday that fixed lines declined by 22.4% in the past year, to reach just 997 000 at the end of March 2022.

At the turn of the century, Telkom had more than five million fixed lines in service, but this figure has fallen steadily over the past 20 years, driven by consumers moving to mobile services for both voice and Internet services.

The decline comes despite subsidiary Openserve’s acceleration of the deployment of fibre-to-the-home connections, illustrating just how quickly it is removing copper from its last-mile network in favour of new technologies.

Telkom reported 584 200 fixed broadband subscribers – including copper DSL and fibre-to-the-home lines – at end-March which was down 3.6% compared the year-ago figure.

Source: Telkom

Telkom “all-access” subscribers – mainly DSL customers – fell by 10.8% to less than 300 000. Fibre homes passed and connected, by comparison, jumped by 38.4% to 389 100.

Despite the decline in fixed lines in service, fixed-line broadband Arpu (average revenue per user is a closely watched industry metric) increased by 10.5% to R273.92. Fixed-line voice Arpu, however, plunged by 21.3% to R275.63.

In terms of data volumes, Telkom reported a 16.6% increase in fixed broadband usage to 1.67 petabytes; fixed voice traffic fell 9% to 6.18 million minutes.  — (c) 2022 NewsCentral Media