Openserve closing in on Vumatel’s fibre crown

Telkom’s wholesale fixed-line division Openserve has continued to rapidly expand its fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) network and is nearing Vumatel in terms of customer numbers.

That is according to the operator’s trading update for the first quarter of its 2023 financial year.

As of 30 June 2022, Openserve had passed more than 890,000 homes with fibre, an increase of 45.3% from the 612,451 it had covered the same time a year ago.

Its homes passed figure is also up over 50,000 from the 839,691 it had at the end of March 2022.

In addition, Openserve saw the number of households connected to its fibre increase by 35.2% to 414,847.

That means an impressive 46.6% of homes with access to Openserve fibre choose to connect to the operator’s network.

Vumatel has a substantially larger last-mile fibre footprint, with around 1.5 million homes passed as of July 2022.

However, its connectivity rate is around 30% as only about 450,000 customers in its coverage areas sign up for fibre services on its network.

Openserve also has the advantage of being able to roll out faster and with greater cost efficiency in the many suburbs where it is replacing its copper infrastructure.

Analytico’s 2022 South African Broadband and ISP Brand Report recently revealed that Openserve was the most popular fibre operator, based on a survey of 5,973 broadband subscribers in the country.

The table below shows the preferred fibre operators based on respondents’ votes.

Preferred Fibre Operators
Fibre Operator Percentage
Openserve 30.25%
Vumatel 26.06%
Vodacom 12.77%
Frogfoot 8.54%
MetroFibre 7.39%
Octotel 4.66%
HeroTel 4.02%
Supersonic 3.92%
EvoTel 1.60%
TTConnect 0.79%

Offsetting copper losses

As a result of its FTTH growth, Openserve grew fibre revenue by 6.5% year-on-year.

Openserve expects the trend to continue based on the increased data consumption it observed on its network.

The operator recorded traffic surging by 18.9% year-on-year to reach 452 petabytes — or 452 million gigabytes.

Telkom said Openserve’s fibre gains were enough to offset its losses in broadband copper services.

“Openserve saw a sustained increase in its overall broadband base over the last three quarters,” the company said.

Customers connected to Openserve broadband services grew to over 612,871, up from 584,189 in March 2022.

Subtracting fibre customers suggests around 198,000 DSL customers remain on Telkom’s copper network.

Now read: Vumatel wants to buy 100% of Herotel

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