Telkom’s fixed line numbers the lowest in 15 years

On 8 June 2012, Telkom released its annual results for the year ended 31 March 2012, showing a continued decline in fixed line subscribers.

According to Telkom’s latest figures the company now has 3,995,000 fixed lines, down from 4,073,000 in September 2011. This is the lowest number of subscribers since 1996.

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.

What should be of particular concern to Telkom is that every segment of its fixed line business declined, as shown in the table below.

Lines March 2011 (‘000) March 2012 (‘000) Percentage growth
Fixed access lines (’000) 4,152 3,995 -3.8%
Post-paid – PSTN 2,552 2,499 -2.1%
Post-paid – ISDN channels 772 767 -0.6%
Pre-paid 703 623 -11.4%
Payphones 125 106 -15.2%

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

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

Year Fixed line subscribers 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
2002 4,924,000 -38,000
2003 4,844,000 -80,000
2004 4,821,000 -23,000
2005 4,726,000 -95,000
2006 4,708,000 -18,000
2007 4,642,000 -66,000
2008 4,533,000 -109,000
2009 4,451,000 -82,000
2010 4,273,000 -178,000
2011 4,073,000 -200,000
2012 3,995,000 -78,000

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Telkom’s fixed line numbers the lowest in 15 years