Telkom subscriber numbers – Everything is down, with one exception

Telkom has released its financial results for the year ended 31 March 2020, which showed a sharp decline in subscribers across most segments.

Telkom’s fixed-line subscribers declined from 2,267,000 in March 2019 to 1,602,000 in March 2020, the biggest year-on-year drop in history.

Telkom’s Closer subscribers declined by 43% over the last year – from 718,968 in March 2019 to 408,751 in March 2020.

The company’s Internet all-access subscribers also plummeted over the last year, declining from 507,172 in March 2019 to 393,135 in March 2020.

There was one exception – mobile. Telkom’s active mobile subscribers increased from 9.7 million in March 2019 to 12 million in March 2020.

Mobile broadband subscribers increased by 28% over the last year, up from 6.4 million in March 2019 to 8.2 million in March 2020.

The table below provides an overview of how Telkom’s subscriber numbers changed over the last year.

Telkom Operational Data
Segment March 2020 March 2019 Change
Fixed access lines 1,602,000 2,267,000 -29.3%
Fixed broadband subscribers 686,525 847,650 -19.0%
Internet all-access subscribers 393,135 507,172 -22.5%
Closer subscribers 408,751 718,968 -43.1%
Managed data network sites 39,090 43,996 -11.2%
Active mobile subscribers 11,995,281 9,680,725 +23.9%
Mobile broadband subscribers 8,162,977 6,377,056 +28.0%

Big investment in mobile

Telkom has invested heavily in its mobile network to expand coverage, with an emphasis on 4G.

The company increased its network investment by 22.1% to R3.7 billion over the last year, which helped it to significantly increase its number of base stations.

“We increased our base stations by 14.6% to 5,862, of which 71.1% are LTE time division duplex (TDD) capable and 100% are LTE frequency division duplex (FDD) capable,” Telkom said.

The expansion aligns with the strategy of building a 4G and 4.5G data network to carry big volumes of data traffic.

“We refarmed a significant portion of the 1,800MHz spectrum and started refarming portions of 2,100 MHz for LTE and LTE-A,” Telkom said.

Refarming the 1,800 MHz spectrum allowed Telkom to switch off and decommission most 2G access nationally, resulting in an improved 4G experience.

The company has also upgraded over 30% of its base station backhaul to cater for data growth.

Now read: Telkom fixed-line shocker

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Telkom subscriber numbers – Everything is down, with one exception