Following the first wave of FTTx deployments in South Africa, decision makers are now deploying fibre access at a frenetic pace, often referred to as a ‘land grab’. The stakes are high, as billions of rands are invested in new access technologies in the next few years, raising questions remain about project viability in the face of intense price-based competition. The impact of alternatives like LTE-Advanced also needs to be considered.

The October 2017 BMIT report on (optical) fibre to the home and to the business is the fourth edition, following the initial edition published in November 2015 and subsequent revisions.

FTTx presents many new game-changing opportunities for operators, particularly due to the advent of new challengers to Telkom’s fixed line network, most of which are operating along open access principles. Telkom has responded with a statement that it too intends going the open access route, with aggressive rollout targets, aiming at 1 million FTTH households over the next three years. Vodacom, for its part, has previously stated that it will roll out 250,000 FTTx connections, split between business (FTTB) and residential properties. DFA is already a significant player in the FTTB market, while Vumatel is succeeding with investor financing and has already passed more than 200,000 households.

Focus areas and objectives

The report compares competing fibre and other technologies (wireless, copper), reviews the key players in the emerging ecosystem, describes key market constraints and models uptake scenarios. The research provides a sharp focus on FTTx as a commercial opportunity. The following points expand on the focus areas and objectives:

  • Access technology review, including brief international scan, and positioning of fibre vs copper and wireless.
  • Key issues
  • Technology choices
  • Regulatory issues
  • Player profiles – open access and vertically integrated players
  • Deployment initiatives
  • Market analysis (FTTB and FTTH)

Analysis of key players includes the following detail, with equal focus on business (FTTB) and household (FTTH) customers, pointing out which players are more focused on which segment(s):

  • Key players building fibre and emerging Layer 2 wholesale players
  • Leading ISPs
  • Key vertically integrated players.
  • Market model with key segmentations
  • Scenario descriptions and assumptions
  • Market forecast model, including service penetration and revenue forecasts.

Research team

The team for this research includes Brian Neilson (BMIT Principal Analyst) and Christopher Geerdts (senior telecoms associate).