Landline users in South Africa are cutting the cord. In mid-November, Telkom, the country’s major fixed line operator – which also happens to be the largest in Africa – revealed that it has witnessed a steady decline in the amount of landline users it serves, with the latest figures showing that fixed access lines are now at its lowest level since 1995. 
Those statistics show that Telkom’s fixed access lines currently stand at 3 894 000, which is down from 3 995 000 in March 2012, and down 4,4% from a year before in September 2011, when it was at 4 073 000.
Rather alarmingly for the operator, the company’s interim results for the six months ending on 30 September, 2012, show that every segment of its fixed line business has declined, including post-paid public switched telephone network (PSTN) and ISDN lines.
According to Mitchell Barker, CEO of, there are several explanations for why South African users are defecting from landlines.
“Although Telkom still owns the majority of the fixed line infrastructure in South Africa – which reportedly consists of a national long-haul network of lines spanning approximately 143 000 kilometres – it is ageing and, due to still being mostly copper-based, prone to theft and therefore disruptive to the day to day operations of businesses, leading to a loss of income and costing South Africa about R5-billion per year.”
Barker says due to this, business owners are embracing other options to meet their company’s telecommunications needs, including voice over Internet protocol (VoIP), because it is more affordable and provides users with more freedom.
“Reliable connectivity services are of growing importance as the way employees work changes dramatically. Operating numerous, separate networks for voice, data, video and other applications is not an innovative approach towards an effective communications infrastructure.
“Each has unique requirements for bandwidth, latency and availability, and often the optimal architecture for linking all of these incorporates a range of services.”
However, there are a multitude of connectivity services and offerings on the market, making it difficult for companies to choose the optimal service and bandwidth to support application requirements while minimising costs. has therefore introduced a new wireless provider comparison section to help businesses make an informed decision.
Together with the existing VoIP and PBX comparison sections, provides a quick and easy reference for companies evaluating all of the options available to them.
“Connectivity requirements vary, from a small office needing nothing more than Internet connectivity for e-mail and Web access to a bigger and more diversified company that require many components that differ sites by bandwidth and resiliency requirements,” says Barker.
“Wireless connectivity is the ideal solution for many companies, and we have provided a way for them to evaluate which provider will best meet their needs at-a-glance.”