2016: Rise of the living dead – SA’s mobile operators wake up as 2020 draws closer

Safia Khan

Policy Brief 2, 2016

The mobile telecommunications landscape in South Africa is possibly one of the most dynamic in Africa. The financial year 2015/16 has seen a multitude of strategic responses from operators to factors changing demand. In response to the latest financial statements released by SA’s listed mobile operators, this policy brief looks at the mobile environment and analyses the competitive tactics of each operator according to a set of performance criteria to determine their direction. It also examines how consumer-focussed their strategies are according to a set of core competitive criteria.


1. The latest financials of the publicly listed operators highlights their competitive responses to the dynamism of this increasingly complex market as it shifts from voice to data.

2. The 2015 financial year has seen MTN increase its investment to catch up with Vodacom.

3. Telkom Mobile has had a largely successful year and has found a niche in the contract market with higher postpaid growth than any other operator.

4. Making up less than 0.8% of the market, MVNO’s pose no real threat to operators even though they target high-revenue customers.

Suggested citation

Khan, S. (2016). 2016: Rise of the living dead—SA’s mobile operators wake up as 2020 draws closer (Policy Brief No. 2). Research ICT Africa. https://researchictafrica.net/polbrf/Research_ICT_Africa_Policy_Briefs/2016_Policy_Brief_2%20South_Africa_mobile_operators_wake_up_as_2020_draws_closer.pdf