Voice-over-Internet-protocol (VoIP) providers are stepping in to fill the gap for telephony in South Africa left by the demise of copper-based networks.
Once South Africa’s dominant provider of fixed analogue voice services, Telkom has seen a rapid decline in subscribers over the past two decades.
Telkom’s fixed-line subscribers, including landline and DSL users, reached a peak of around 5.49 million in 2000 but gradually declined until around March 2015. At that point, they stood at roughly 3.43 million.
From then, it was a sharp downhill drop, with the company losing over 200,000 subscribers per year.
Annual losses peaked at 665,000 between March 2019 and March 2020.
As of March 2022, the company had just 997,000 fixed-line subscribers left — an enormous reduction of 82% from 2000.
The graph below shows how Telkom’s fixed-line subscribers declined yearly between 2000 and 2022.