Telkom sheds fixed lines, but fibre growing fast

The number of fixed lines in service at Telkom has continued to decline, falling by a sharp 9.3% in the 2018 financial year to just 2.68m at the end of March 2018, from 2.95m a year ago. That’s the lowest it’s been in decades.

The number of fixed broadband subscribers dipped back below a million, to just 981 000, while fixed voice traffic slumped 11.4% in the period, to 12m minutes, as businesses and consumers switched to mobile and voice-over-IP services.

The decline in fixed-line subscribers, revealed in Telkom’s 2018 financial results published on Monday, are, however, offset by a sharp rise in the number of mobile broadband subscribers, up 37.5% to 3.6m. Average revenue per mobile user also rose, up 10.2% to R98.19.

The fixed-line business wasn’t all bad news. The growth in fibre-to-the-home connections was 62.3% year on year, reaching 357 000 subscribers. The fibre connectivity rate — the percentage of customers signing up for fibre where it’s available — showed a very healthy improvement, jumping from 18% in 2017 to 30.7% at the end of March 2018.

Fixed broadband data volumes continued to climb, despite the decline in subscribers, with Telkom processing 484.3 petabytes, up 34.1% over 2017. Mobile broadband data volumes jumped 123.6% to 191.8PB.

The number of mobile base stations grew by a third to 3 972, of which 2 333 are enabled for 4G/LTE.  — (c) 2018 NewsCentral Media