Since the Parkhurst fibre project in 2014, fibre connectivity in South Africa has grown significantly.
Parkhurst appointed Vumatel, a new entrant to the market, to roll out its network at the time.
Since then, Vumatel has grown to be a significant force in the residential fixed-line market.
Where residential fibre networks were typically limited to experiments or affluent gated communities, they have expanded into middle-class neighbourhoods and security complexes.
Vumatel also recently announced the expansion of its network into lower-income township areas, with the planning stages of its roll-out in Alexandra complete.
The success of Vumatel has given rise to several new fibre infrastructure players in South Africa, while established entities started rolling out more aggressively to compete with the newcomers.
Providing a specific number of residential fibre infrastructure operators is difficult, however, as even the FTTX Council Africa does not maintain a count.
The Council said that as an industry organisation it does not look at FTTH in isolation.
“Infrastructure players include Openserve, Vumatel, MFN, SADV, Frogfoot, Vodacom, MTN, Liquid, TTConnect, Atec, DFA, Lightstruck, and Netstream,” said the FTTX Council Africa.
“What these companies have in common is that they all deploy infrastructure, however, some of them also provide Internet services.”
A count of infrastructure players operating with independent Internet service providers comes in at over 30 companies, however.
This includes Octotel, Cape Connect, Evotel, Mitsol, and the FairCape Group’s Internect, as well as networks which only operate in specific neighbourhoods.
Getting a sense of the number of Internet service providers which sell fibre broadband packages is equally difficult.
“There are always new ISPs entering the market that have identified buying power and are making a play for customers,” said the FTTX Council Africa.
“Fibre Tiger has 21 ISPs listed, some of them also infrastructure providers. Some companies will only focus on providing services to business, while others will concentrate on consumers.”
Comparing the list of ISPs on Fibre Tiger to those on the websites of infrastructure operators like Vumatel, Frogfoot, and Octotel reveals that no one site appears to list all offers.
When adding in ISPs such as RocketNet, Adept ICT, and goturbo – along with wireless ISPs which also offer fibre services, such as WIRUlink, Bronberg Connect, and Level-7 – there are well over 50 service providers selling fibre packages in South Africa.
It is clear the market is vibrant, and infrastructure and service providers alike are competing for customers.
Fibre infrastructure operators in SA
The list below contains the fibre infrastructure providers currently operating in South Africa, based on ISP offerings.
- MetroFibre Networx
- Liquid Telecom
- Cape Connect
- Clear Access
- Blitz Fibre
- Steyn City
- Cool Fibre
- Waterfall Access Network
- Balwin Fibre
- Century City Connect
- The Hub