Telkom’s fixed line numbers: A brief history since 1993

Telkom’s steady decline in fixed line numbers since the turn of the century has been blamed on many factors including competition from mobile phones, copper theft and tough economic conditions.

In the early nineties Telkom showed a steady increase in fixed line subscribers, which accelerated when Telkom’s roll-out target of up to 3-million lines within five years started in 1997. Telkom’s roll-out targets were 160,000 in 1995/96 and 250,000 in 1996/97.

Despite the ANC government’s noble intentions to boost fixed line penetration rates in South Africa, their aggressive roll-out targets did not work as expected. In Telkom’s 2002 Annual Report, then CEO Sizwe Nxasana explained that while Telkom connected 2.8 million fixed lines over the “past 5 years to meet their license rollout obligations,” their net line growth over the license period was only 665,819.

“Our net fixed-line growth over the five- year period was disappointing. While we succeeded in connecting millions of customers, we were adversely impacted by a high rate of disconnections,” said Nxasana.

“Disconnections can be attributed to the poor domestic economic climate coupled with the phenomenal growth in mobile subscribers over the five-year period. Fixed-line teledensity currently stands at 11% and fixed-line household penetration at an estimated 31%” said Nxasana.

In its 2003 annual report Telkom stated that “we elected not to roll-out lines in our last year of exclusivity where it was not economical to do so. As a result, we missed our fixed-line roll-out target by 16,448 lines.”

Since the year 2000 there has been a steady decline in fixed-line numbers despite an economic boom from 2003 to 2007 and the launch of ADSL in late 2002.

Telkom has been unable to stem the continued slide in fixed line subscriber numbers, and the company’s current 4,234,000 fixed lines is the lowest since 1996.

The following table provides an overview of Telkom fixed line growth and decline since the early nineties.

Telkom fixed line numbers
Date Fixed Lines
1993 3 458 000
1994 3 594 000
1995 3 773 000
1996 3 926 000
1997 4 259 000
1998 4 645 000
1999 5 075 000
2000 5 493 000
2001 4 962 000
2002 4 924 000
2003 4 844 000
2004 4 821 000
2005 4 726 000
2006 4 708 000
2007 4 642 000
2008 4 533 000
2009 4 451 000
2010 4 273 000

Telkom’s fixed line numbers: A brief history since 1993 << Comments and views

Latest news

Partner Content

Show comments

Recommended

Share this article
Telkom’s fixed line numbers: A brief history since 1993