Telkom fixed lines are getting killed

Telkom released its interim results for the six months ended 30 September 2019, which show a huge decline in fixed-line subscribers.

Telkom’s fixed-line subscribers declined from 2,566,000 in September 2018 to 1,975,000 in September 2019.

This means Telkom lost 591,000 fixed-line subscribers over the last year, which equates to a 23% decline in its fixed-access line customer base.

While this decline is not new – Telkom has been struggling to hold onto its fixed-line users since 2000 – the rapid loss of fixed lines over the last year is concerning.

Decline in fixed broadband lines

Telkom’s fixed-line broadband subscribers – which include ADSL, VDSL, and fibre-to-the-home customers – declined from 974,181 in September 2018 to 781,255 in September 2019.

This comes at a time when there is a tremendous demand for fibre-to-the-home services, a market which Telkom should dominate.

The decline in fixed-line broadband subscribers has a knock-on effect. It suffered serious losses on its Internet service provider (ISP) subscribers over the last year.

Telkom Internet all-access subscribers declined from 550,606 in September 2018 to 476,763 in September 2019.

Instead of doubling down and regaining its dominance in the fixed-broadband market, it is moving in the opposite direction.

Telkom is actively cutting ADSL lines as part of discontinuing its copper network, and has reduced its fibre investment by 36%.

This means that Telkom is happy to relinquish its dominance in the fixed-broadband market and let companies like Vumatel, Octotel, and Frogfoot eat its lunch.

Telkom fixed-line subscriber decline

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

Telkom Fixed Lines
Date Subscribers YoY 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
Mar-04 4,821,000 -23,000
Sep-04 4,870,000 58,000
Mar-05 4,726,000 -95,000
Sep-05 4,730,000 -140,000
Mar-06 4,708,000 -18,000
Sep-06 4,675,000 -55,000
Mar-07 4,642,000 -66,000
Sep-07 4,621,000 -54,000
Mar-08 4,532,000 -110,000
Sep-08 4,504,000 -117,000
Mar-09 4,451,000 -81,000
Sep-09 4,398,000 -106,000
Mar-10 4,273,000 -178,000
Sep-10 4,234,000 -164,000
Mar-11 4,152,000 -121,000
Sep-11 4,073,000 -161,000
Mar-12 3,995,000 -157,000
Sep-12 3,894,000 -179,000
Mar-13 3,800,000 -195,000
Sep-13 3,713,000 -181,000
Mar-14 3,618,000 -182,000
Sep-14 3,531,000 -182,000
Mar-15 3,439,000 -179,000
Sep-15 3,323,000 -208,000
Mar-16 3,217,000 -222,000
Sep-16 3,090,000 -233,000
Mar-17 2,954,000 -263,000
Sep-17 2,840,000 -250,000
Mar-18 2,678,000 -276,000
Sep-18 2,566,000 -274,000
Mar-19 2,267,000 -411,000
Sep-19 1,975,000 -591,000

Now read: Telkom ADSL and fibre shocker

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Telkom fixed lines are getting killed