South African operators’ investments of their networks have step by step declined over the previous 4 years, with spending totalling R47.6 billion in 2017, in contrast with R34 billion in 2021.
This is based on the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa’s (Icasa) newest State of the ICT Sector report, which additionally confirmed that, whereas total funding within the sector declined, cellular operators have been ramping up spending.
Despite the general funding decline between 2017 and 2021, complete telecommunications investments have elevated by 43.7% since 2015.
This is primarily as a consequence of a big improve in spending in 2017, which noticed investments rise from R19 billion in 2016 to R47.6 billion the next 12 months — a rise of 150%.
Therefore, spending stays increased than the degrees reported in 2015 and 2016, regardless of vital declines following the R47.6 injection in 2017.
Icasa additionally offered a breakdown of spending between the completely different sectors of the business in its report.
It revealed that fixed-line phone and broadband investments dropped by 22.6% and 1.6%, respectively, in 2021.
On the opposite hand, annual investments in cellular communication providers rose by 10.5% in 2021. However, cellular communication spending was nonetheless down nearly 12% from 2017.
Looking on the seven-year reporting interval as an entire, spending within the cellular communications sector has elevated by 7.7% since 2015 — a median annual improve of 1.1% per 12 months.
Mobile communication investments totalled R17.3 billion and made up 50.1% of complete spending by telecommunications community operators in 2021.
Maintenance spending within the telecommunications business has declined steadily since 2017. Network operators spent R3.7 billion on upkeep in 2017, which decreased by 69% over 4 years to R1.1 billion in 2021.
It ought to be famous that, earlier than 2017, Icasa reported that community operators didn’t spend money on upkeep, and subsequently upkeep spending remains to be up in contrast with 2015 and 2016.
Based on the reported figures, South Africa’s telecommunication operators undertook vital enlargement initiatives in 2017, spending R16 billion to develop their networks.
Network enlargement investments decreased to R1.1 billion in 2021 — a drop of 93% over 4 years.
During the identical interval, infrastructure spending elevated by 55.6%, from R3.8 billion in 2017 to R8.5 billion in 2021.
One doable rationalization for why infrastructure spending elevated whereas enlargement efforts decreased, is that operators stepped up funding into batteries and safety enhancements to protect in opposition to load-shedding and theft.