Following the first wave of FTTx deployments in South Africa, decision makers are now deploying fibre access at an exponential rate, sometimes likened to a new ‘land grab’. The stakes are high, as billions of rands need to be spent to roll out more efficient access technologies in the next few years in an already mature telecoms market. In the residential market, 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.

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 hoping to achieve investor financing to roll out to 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, analysis and report will provide a sharp focus on FTTx as a commercial opportunity. The following points summarise 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
  • Open access versus vertically integrated players
  • Price analysis over time
  • Current deployment initiatives

Summary of the 25 or so operators currently doing FTTx deployments in South Africa, with equal focus on business (FTTB) and household (FTTH) customers, pointing out which players are more focused on which segment(s).

  • More detailed analysis and profiling of selected players by layer in the industry.
  • Key players building metro fibre without necessarily lighting it e.g. DFA.
  • Leading ISPs that mainly choose to lease fibre from others rather than build it themselves.
  • Key vertically integrated players.
  • Market model, with a particular emphasis on fibre to the residential household (FTTH)
  • Scenario descriptions and assumptions
  • Market forecast model, including service penetration, traffic and revenue forecasts.

Research team

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