Much has been made of the rapid decline in Telkom’s phone line business and the rapid ascent of its mobile business. According to Telkom’s annual results, released last week, the former has declined at its most rapid rate ever, falling 29% to 1.6-million — from a high of 5.5-million two decades ago. The mobile subscriber base was almost the mirror opposite, rising 24% to 12-million.

This means two things: the landline is a dead business walking; and Telkom Mobile is rising fast to pose a direct challenge to the mobile market dominance of Vodacom and MTN. That, in turn, means that Telkom has become an entirely different business to what it was in the bad old days of monopoly and customer abuse.

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