Telkom now connects more homes with fibre than with fixed lines

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Telkom CEO Sipho Maseko.
Telkom CEO Sipho Maseko.
Cornel van Heerden
  • Growth in fibre connection has given Telkom's network business, Openserve, a boost. 
  • The number of homes connected with fibre now surpasses the number of homes connected with copper. 
  • The weakest link in Telkom's growth has been its IT business under BCX, which the company says has been "hardest hit by the challenging environment".


Growth in fibre connection has given Telkom's network business, Openserve, a boost, with connections to homes now-eclipsing copper lines.

Telkom has been on a growth trajectory, thanks to increased internet usage, and it is now the country's third-largest mobile company. A trading update released on Wednesday showed that mobile broadband customers during the quarter to end June were up 30.9% to 10.5 million, while active mobile customers went up 36.3% year-on-year to 16.1 million.

"For the first time since the technology migration at Openserve, the number of homes connected with fibre surpassed the number of homes connected with copper," said outgoing CEO Sipho Maseko.

He noted that although the overall fixed-line business was still declining, there had been a positive recovery in the fixed voice usage and fixed data connectivity revenue compared to the prior year, boosting the performance of Openserve.

Telkom launched Openserve in October 2015 as part of a strategy to optimise its wholesale and networks division.

The weakest link in Telkom's growth has been its IT business under BCX, which the company says has been "hardest hit by the challenging environment".

Maseko further said that new revenue streams, such as mobile, IT, fibre, and masts and towers contribute more than 70% to group revenue and remain the driver of the top line growth and profitability of the business.

While the mobile service revenue grew 13.0% to R4.4 billion, the post-paid market took a strain in terms of new connections as consumers came under pressure from a weak economy. The prepaid market remained the driver of new connections.

Prepaid customers grew by 46.8% to 13.5 million during the first quarter.

Maseko, who leaves the company in June after nine years at the helm, is credited with turning around the company from a fixed-line operator to a significant competitor in the mobile space. The launch of Telkom Mobile in 2010 came nearly a decade after the arrival of Cell C, the company that Telkom has overtaken as the country's third-largest mobile company.

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