How independent fibre providers are hurting Telkom ADSL

Telkom has released its financial results for the year ended 31 March 2018, which show the biggest-ever decline in fixed broadband subscribers.

Telkom’s fixed broadband subscribers declined from 1,003,521 in March 2017 to 981,176 in March 2018.

This 2.2% year-on-year decline may not look significant, but considering that Telkom is aggressively growing its fibre subscriber base, it points to a large decline in ADSL subscribers.

Telkom CEO Sipho Maseko said in his results presentation that they have now connected 109,336 homes with fibre, which means it has around 870,000 DSL subscribers.

This is a big drop from over 1 million connections in 2015.

DSL migration

While many ADSL and VDSL subscribers are migrating to Telkom’s Openserve fibre-to-the-home products, many others have moved to competing fibre and LTE services.

South Africa is experiencing a land-grab in the fibre market, with multiple companies rolling out fibre infrastructure across the country.

These fibre operators, in partnership with Internet service providers, are offering higher speeds at similar prices to ADSL and VDSL.

This has resulted in many Telkom DSL subscribers moving to the more modern broadband technology.

Telkom is aware of this challenge, and invested R2.1 billion into its fibre network over the past year.

Through this investment the company has increased its active FTTH connectivity rate to 30.7%, up from 18% in 2017.

The table below shows Telkom’s fixed broadband subscriber numbers over the past 15 years.

Telkom Broadband Subscribers

Telkom Fixed Broadband Subscribers
Date Subscribers Monthly growth
Mar-03 2,669 0
Sep-03 12,000 1,555
Mar-04 20,313 1,386
Sep-04 37,000 2,781
Mar-05 58,278 3,546
Sep-05 95,920 6,274
Mar-06 143,509 7,932
Sep-06 190,172 7,777
Mar-07 255,633 10,910
Sep-07 335,112 13,247
Mar-08 412,190 12,846
Sep-08 491,774 13,264
Mar-09 548,015 9,374
Sep-09 602,720 9,118
Mar-10 647,462 7,457
Sep-10 699,368 8,651
Mar-11 751,625 8,710
Sep-11 795,419 7,299
Mar-12 827,091 5,279
Sep-12 841,831 2,457
Mar-13 870,505 4,779
Sep-13 898,203 4,616
Mar-14 926,944 4,790
Sep-14 971,319 7,396
Mar-15 1,005,286 5,661
Sep-15 1,015,307 1,670
Mar-16 1,027,507 2,033
Sep-16 1,018,405 -1,517
Mar-17 1,003,521 -2,481
Sep-17 999,311 -702
Mar-18 981,176 -3,023

Now read: Telkom fixed-line and ADSL shocker

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How independent fibre providers are hurting Telkom ADSL