ADSL is dying in South Africa

Telkom’s fixed broadband subscribers have declined in the six months ending March 2017, according to its latest results.

Including internal lines, fixed broadband subscribers declined from 1,027,507 in March 2016 to 1,018,405 in September, and to 1,003,521 in March 2017.

These are the first declines in Telkom’s fixed broadband subscriber base since it launched ADSL in August 2002.

Its fixed broadband subscriber base declined despite solid growth in Openserve’s fibre-to-the-home network, which now passes 219,825 homes.

“The fixed-line business saw good growth in fibre subscribers, which was a combination of both migration from ADSL and new customers,” said Telkom CEO Sipho Maseko.

“Even though we are still experiencing churn in ADSL, this was offset by an increase in demand for higher speeds and larger uncapped data.”

The great ADSL migration

Telkom stopped reporting on its ADSL subscribers as a category in March 2016, and listed total non-mobile broadband subscribers in its results.

It still provided separate figures for fibre customers, however, allowing ADSL subscribers to be calculated.

With its September 2016 results, though, Telkom stopped listing its fibre subscribers separately.

Despite this, you can see in the graph and table below that Telkom must have lost a significant number of ADSL subscribers, considering that its fibre subscriber base grew, but its fixed broadband numbers dropped.

Telkom Fixed Broadband Subscribers

Telkom ADSL and fixed line March 2017

Telkom Fixed Broadband Subscribers (No Internal Lines)
Date Subscribers Monthly Growth (Over 6 Months)
March 2003 2,669 445
September 2003 12,000 1,555
March 2004 20,313 1,386
September 2004 37,000 2,781
March 2005 58,278 3,546
September 2005 95,920 6,274
March 2006 143,509 7,932
September 2006 190,172 7,777
March 2007 255,633 10,910
September 2007 335,112 13,247
March 2008 412,190 12,846
September 2008 491,774 13,264
March 2009 548,015 9,374
September 2009 602,720 9,118
March 2010 647,462 7,457
September 2010 699,368 8,651
March 2011 751,625 8,710
September 2011 795,419 7,299
March 2012 827,091 5,279
September 2012 841,831 2,457
March 2013 870,505 4,779
September 2013 898,203 4,616
March 2014 926,944 4,790
September 2014 965,046 6,350
March 2015 997,048 5,334
September 2015 1,004,075 1,171
March 2016 1,019,249* [1,011,120] 2,529* [1,174]
September 2016 1,010,192* [991,405] -1,510* [-3,286]
March 2017 995,558* [955,918] -2,439* [-5,915]
* In March 2016, Telkom stopped reporting ADSL subscriber numbers and instead reported fixed broadband subscribers in total. Numbers in square brackets are ADSL figures calculated by subtracting fibre customers.

Now read: Openserve cuts wholesale ADSL and fibre-to-the-home prices

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ADSL is dying in South Africa