Big Telkom fixed-line and ADSL shock

Telkom has released its interim financial results for the six months ended 30 September 2018, which shows a big loss in fixed-line and ADSL subscribers.

Telkom now has 2,566,000 fixed-line subscribers, down from 2,840,000 a year ago. This is a year-on-year decline of 274,000 lines.

Telkom has been struggling to hold onto its fixed-line users since 2000, when its subscriber numbers peaked at 5,493,000.

The loss in fixed-line subscribers started to accelerate in 2015, and over the last four years Telkom lost a million fixed-line subscriptions.

To rub salt in the wound, the revenue per fixed access line declined by 4% over the last year. It dropped from R2,265 in September 2017 to R2,175 in September 2018.

Total fixed-line voice traffic showed a particularly big decline over the last year – down from 6,449 million minutes in the six months in 2017 to 5,630 million minutes in the six months in 2018.

Fixed broadband subscriber decline

Telkom is also losing fixed broadband subscribers despite its continued investment in its fibre rollout.

Telkom’s fixed broadband subscribers, which include xDSL and FTTH lines – of which 6,420 are internal lines – declined from 999,311 in September 2017 to 974,181 in September 2018.

Telkom said it is seeing significantly more fibre customers, which is partly driven by the migration of DSL customers to fibre.

This points to a big decrease in the number of ADSL subscribers – many of whom are moving to competing fibre providers like Vumatel.

Many DSL subscribers may have also opted for affordable fixed-LTE services from Cell C and Rain, which offer higher speeds than ADSL.

Telkom fixed-line subscriber decline

Telkom previously said the decline was caused by many factors, including competition from mobile services, copper theft, and tough economic conditions.

The table below provides an overview of Telkom’s fixed-line growth and decline since 1993.

Telkom Fixed Lines
Date Subscribers YoY Change 6-Months Change
1993 3,458,000
1994 3,594,000 136,000
1995 3,773,000 179,000
1996 3,926,000 153,000
1997 4,259,000 333,000
1998 4,645,000 386,000
1999 5,075,000 430,000
2000 5,493,000 418,000
2001 4,962,000 -531,000
Mar-02 4,924,000 -38,000
Mar-03 4,844,000 -80,000
Sep-03 4,812,000 -32,000
Mar-04 4,821,000 -23,000 9,000
Sep-04 4,870,000 58,000 49,000
Mar-05 4,726,000 -95,000 -144,000
Sep-05 4,730,000 -140,000 4,000
Mar-06 4,708,000 -18,000 -22,000
Sep-06 4,675,000 -55,000 -33,000
Mar-07 4,642,000 -66,000 -33,000
Sep-07 4,621,000 -54,000 -21,000
Mar-08 4,532,000 -110,000 -89,000
Sep-08 4,504,000 -117,000 -28,000
Mar-09 4,451,000 -81,000 -53,000
Sep-09 4,398,000 -106,000 -53,000
Mar-10 4,273,000 -178,000 -125,000
Sep-10 4,234,000 -164,000 -39,000
Mar-11 4,152,000 -121,000 -82,000
Sep-11 4,073,000 -161,000 -79,000
Mar-12 3,995,000 -157,000 -78,000
Sep-12 3,894,000 -179,000 -101,000
Mar-13 3,800,000 -195,000 -94,000
Sep-13 3,713,000 -181,000 -87,000
Mar-14 3,618,000 -182,000 -95,000
Sep-14 3,531,000 -182,000 -87,000
Mar-15 3,439,000 -179,000 -92,000
Sep-15 3,323,000 -208,000 -116,000
Mar-16 3,217,000 -222,000 -106,000
Sep-16 3,090,000 -233,000 -127,000
Mar-17 2,954,000 -263,000 -136,000
Sep-17 2,840,000 -250,000 -114,000
Mar-18 2,678,000 -276,000 -162,000
Sep-18 2,566,000 -274,000 -112,000

Now read: Telkom fixed-line customers cancel their accounts in big numbers

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Big Telkom fixed-line and ADSL shock