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These are the companies that control South Africa’s Internet


Vumatel has grown to become a dominant player in fibre-to-the-home. At the same time, Telkom’s Openserve division continues to dominate when it comes to national long-distance fibre in South Africa.

Vodacom and MTN remain the most dominant mobile networks in South Africa.

This is according to the Competition Commission’s Concentration and Participation in the South African Economy report.

The report summarises information on the mobile network market from annual report data. It drew on news articles and the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) for data on fixed-line networks.

Unfortunately, the Competition Commission’s study only looked at data up to 2019.

While the market dynamics have remained largely the same, the market share of companies has changed in the past two years.

The Competition Commission found that South Africa’s mobile market is still concentrated. While Cell C and Telkom have seen an increase in their relative market shares, Vodacom and MTN combined still cover more than 70% of the market.

It noted that, years ago, Telkom was the only South African company with interests in undersea cables. The market has opened up substantially since then.

The Competition Commission’s report also looked into streaming services in South Africa, finding that Netflix is most dominant.

Other popular streaming services in South Africa are Showmax, Viu, and Amazon Prime Video.

Mobile networks

From left to right: Vodacom, MTN, Cell C, Telkom, and Rain logos shown on phones with similar colours to their brand marks

The Competition Commission says it “views operator market shares by revenue, currently and over time, as one of the relevant indicators of market concentration in South Africa’smobile market”.

Vodacom is the dominant mobile network operator in South Africa, with a service revenue share of 45.5% at the end of 2019.

In second place is MTN, with a 31.4% service revenue share at the end of 2019.

MTN and Vodacom combined had a service revenue share of 76.9%.

Telkom and Cell C’s service revenue shares have increased in recent years.

However, the Commission noted that certain market features—including first-mover advantage and high barriers to entry—have perpetuated their positions in the mobile market.

Historical Operator Service revenue share (%), 2015 – 2019
Operator subscriber numbers per customer segment (as of 2019)
Prepaid subscribers Post-paid subscribers
Operator No. (millions) Share No. (millions) Share
Vodacom 35.2 45.0% 6.1 47.2%
MTN 22.7 29.0% 3.1 24.1%
Cell C 10.9 13.9% 1.1 8.6%
Telkom 9.4 12.0% 2.6 20.2%
Rain 0.1 0.1%
Total 78.3 100% 12.9 100%

Fixed-line networks

Telkom was once the only national fixed-line provider in South Africa. However, companies such as FibreCo and Dark Fibre Africa now also have a stake in the industry. This is together with Liquid Intelligent Technologies, which bought Neotel, and state-owned Broadband Infraco.

With an estimated market share of 73%, Telkom remains South Africa’s dominant national fibre infrastructure provider. Broadband Infraco is the next most prevalent, with an estimated market share of 14%.

When it comes to last-mile networks, Vumatel holds the top spot with a share of 36.6%.

Openserve still controls 30.9% of the market with its combination of copper-based DSL and fibre fixed-line access networks.

Vumatel launched in 2014, and by March 2016 only had a market share of 8.7%. Between March 2016 and March 2019, Vumatel’s market share grew to rival Telkom’s.

Estimated national fibre infrastructure market shares
Provider Share (as of March 2019)
Telkom 73%
Link Africa 0%
Broadband Infraco 14%
Liquid Intelligent Technologies 3%
Dark Fibre Africa 1%
MTN 3%
Vodacom 3%
FibreCo 2%
Total 100%
Estimated market shares based on FTTH Homes passed, 2016 — 2019
Provider March 2016 March 2019
Openserve 44.5% 30.9%
Vumatel 8.7% 36.6%
Frogfoot 8.7% 7.2%
Others 38.0% 25.3%

Streaming services

As data relating to advertising spent on video streaming content in South Africa is not readily available, the Commission relied on “Who Owns Whom research, which draws on Statista estimates on subscription and usage of video streaming content in countries across the world”.

Users were described as those who have made at least one online purchase of video streaming content in the last year.

Netflix has the highest estimated usage share of 35%, while Showmax and Viu each have a share of 15%.

Having launched in South Africa in January 2016, Netflix has seen significant growth in recent years.

Estimated share of video streaming usage in South Africa
Provider Usage share
Netflix 35%
Showmax 15%
Viu 15%
Amazon Prime Video 10%
YouTube 5%
Others 20%

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