Telkom adds 42% more mobile subscribers in 12 months

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Telkom’s interim report for the first six months of the financial year is out this morning, and the numbers will make even Vodacom – which had a good day yesterday – jealous.

The key numbers are around Telkom Mobile; it’s increased its subscriber base by a huge 42% since last September, a claim any mobile operator would kill for.

Of course, the catch is that it started from a low base: where the biggest network has 18 million data subscribers, and 30.6 million contracts, Telkom started from a very low base. Last year there were 2.25 million people using Telkom’s mobile network, this year there are 3.2m.

Perspective is everything – the operator’s FreeMe contracts have been very successful, and rightly so as they’re some of the best deals around at the moment. But success is in the form of 170 000 subs in six months. The big growth is in mobile broadband data: 2.3m of those customers are data customers, which is 44.5% up on last year.

Overall, the numbers are good for Telkom. As well as a boost from mobile, its acquisition of Business Connexion has paid off and profit before tax (EBITDA) is up 5% to R5bn for the six month period. The good news is tempered by a decline in fixed line subscribers of 7%, bringing revenue from that arm down by 4% to R7bn.

Fixed line data connectivity is slightly up though, representing just over 1 018 405 subscribers. The growth of just over 3 000 subscribers there is a bit surprising, and suggests the incumbent is losing out to newcomers in the fibre to the home area. Overall, the firm says it that it’s wholesale infrastructure arm, Openserve, has passed 144 512 homes and 850 gated communities with fibre, of whom around 13% take the opportunity to connect to super high speed services.

It’s also passed 42 1376 business premises, which CEO Sipho Maseko says are a priority for the company as they yield around seven times the revenue of domestic customers.

//Updated – the original article stated that Telkom was reporting 144 512 domestic connections to fibre. This isn’t actually the case, that number is homes able to connect to Telkom Fibre. 

Adam Oxford

Adam Oxford

Adam is the Editorial Director at htxt media. He has been writing about technology for almost two full decades now. In a previous life, he was the editor of PC Format and Digital Camera Shopper in the UK, before going on to work as a freelance journalist for seven years. His work has appeared in or on Stuff, The Guardian, Linux Format, TechRadar,, PC Gamer, Green Futures, The Journalist, The Ecologist and The Review. Adam moved to South Africa in 2012 and loves 3D printers, MakerFairs and tech hubs. He hates seafood. None of his friends remember this when cooking.