TelkomONE a hit

Telkom says usage of its recently launched TelkomONE online video and audio streaming service has surpassed its expectations.

Unveiled in November 2020, TelkomONE offers a range of free content including SABC and news channels, and paid-for movies and TV shows which primarily consist of local reality programmes.

While it was unable to provide figures on users or paying subscribers due to being in a closed period, it was pleased with consistent growth across the platform, both in terms of registrations and content engagement.

“Usage has surpassed our expectations,” Telkom stated. “Every week more South Africans find their way to the TelkomONE platform on their mobile phone, tablet or laptop.”

Telkom is not the first mobile network to try and gain a foothold in the online streaming market, a feat which few local players were able to achieve.

The first was MTN’s VU service, previously called MTN FrontRow, which failed to gain traction and was shut down less than three years after launch.

Cell C’s Black service was a spectacular failure, costing the company more than R1.5 billion.

Former Cell C CEO, Jose Dos Santos had punted the service as the future of entertainment, where you would no longer have to “wait nine months before you can watch the newest movies in South Africa”.

Cell C CEO Douglas Craigie Stevenson, however, said for them to think they could compete against players like Netflix in a content play was crazy. This is why they pulled the plug on their Black streaming service.

Vodacom have had more success with Video Play. It launched the service in 2015 and managed to reach a million paying customers by 2019.

Its library includes movies and TV shows, with big blockbusters including the likes of Zack Snyder’s Justice League.

Telkom’s strategy is different to any of these services, with a more local, low-budget approach rather than attempting to compete with costly international content that streaming giants like Netflix produce.

In addition to its 26 linear TV channels, 30 audio channels, and 22 radio channels, Telkom said it now offered users close to 1,000 hours of video on demand content, consisting of:

  • 4,370 episodes across 223 series
  • 109 movies and documentary features
  • 1,766 music videos
  • 10 4K music concerts

Overall, Telkom said these were the most popular channels and shows:

  • Most popular free channels – SABC 1, SABC 2, SABC 3 and SABC Sport
  • Most popular free series – Shaka Zulu and The Estate
  • Most popular paid content – Gospel concerts of Benjamin Dube, Lebo Sekgobela and Ntokoza Mbambo.

 Of its content mix, local titles were the most popular, as Telkom said it had anticipated.  

“In terms of TelkomONE highlights, our unique SABC carriage deal, which is still the only OTT carriage deal in South Africa of its kind, is proving very successful.”

“We recently streamed the CAF games live, as a simulcast with SABC 1, and achieved some of our highest viewership and registrations per day, as was the case for the simulcast live performance of the Monate Vibes music concerts held in December.” 

“Furthermore, we hosted a live Easter Gospel festival, on a pay per view basis over the Easter weekend, before adding the concerts into our subscription catalogue, AMP.  Here too we achieved record viewership.”

These factors showed that TelkomONE is seeing big demand for streaming of live local events.

Telkom said its greatest achievement was the #Openuptheindustry competition which was run during the launch of the service.

This campaign created an opportunity for short form series creators the local industry to make video content which would then be placed on the platform.

“The response was overwhelming and the calibre of a lot of the submissions received was excellent,” Telkom said.

The four competition winners are currently in pre-production or production, with their movies scheduled to launch on the platform in the coming months.  

“In the interim all the entries are live on the service, available for free and we have a selection of entries that are outperforming some licensed content in terms of viewership and achieving a growing following,” Telkom said.

“We will be working with some of these producers in the near future to take some of their ideas into longer running series, in addition to producing TelkomONE’s first, longer form local series.”

Telkom has also launched IGNITE in partnership with the Telkom Foundation, an education-focused pack combining STEM-orientated, CAPS curriculum and edutainment content, targeted to high school students.

This includes shows from CuriosityStream, Discovery, and TED Ed.


The TelkomONE service is available via a browser at or through the TelkomONE mobile app available on the Google Play Store and Apple App store.

On the Play Store, the app has been downloaded more than 10,000 times and holds a rating of 3.9 out of 5 from 123 reviews.

Telkom offers paid-for content under TelkomONE’s AMP category, with access priced as follows:

  • AMP Daily – R7 (includes 90MB Telkom streaming data)
  • AMP Weekend – R17 (includes 360MB Telkom streaming data)
  • AMP Weekly – R19 (includes 720MB Telkom streaming data)
  • AMP Monthly – R49 (includes 1.8GB Telkom streaming data)

Now read: Telkom launches new platform to report fraud and corruption

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TelkomONE a hit