Four facts about the post and telecommunications industry (2019)

Four facts about the post and telecommunications industry (2019)

In the second of four detailed industry reports released this month, Stats SA takes a look at the post and telecommunications industry. The report, which covers the results of a large sample survey that was conducted in 2019, provides details on the financial and employment makeup of the industry.

The survey was conducted previously in 2006, 2010, 2013 and 2016.

The telecommunications sector dominates the industry

Total income for the post and telecommunications industry in 2019 was R352 billion. The telecommunications sector accounted for 95% of the value, while the post and courier sector accounted for the remaining 5%.



This proportional split is identical to what was recorded in the 2006 survey when the total income generated by the industry was R137 billion.

Mobile prepaid and voice calls dominate telecommunications services

The telecommunications sector generates its income from two main services: telecommunications (which includes the provision of fixed, mobile and internet services) and broadcasting.

In 2019, over two-thirds of income generated by telecommunications services was from mobile lines. Fixed lines accounted for 5% and internet services 7%. The popularity of mobile prepaid services is evident in the figures, with mobile prepaid generating half of total income.



Voice dominates data, but only in the mobile prepaid market. Overall, if we consider both prepaid and postpaid options, income from voice calls accounts for 41% of total income generated from telecommunications services.

Profit margins have waned

The post and telecommunications industry enjoyed relatively high profits in 2010. This was driven largely by the telecommunications sector that recorded R218 billion in turnover and R64 billion in net profit (after tax) that year. This translates to a profit margin of 29,2%. The sector recorded a much lower profit margin of 1,1% in the 2019 survey.




The post and courier sector registered losses in 2013, 2016 and 2019.

There are fewer jobs in the industry

After recording an increase in its workforce in 2013, the post and telecommunications industry recorded job losses in both the 2016 and 2019 surveys. In the 2013–2016 period, the industry registered a net loss of about 3 000 jobs. The bulk of job losses were recorded in the post and courier sector (-6 337 jobs) while this was partially offset by gains in telecommunications (+3 284 jobs).



In the 2016–2019 period, the industry recorded a net loss of about 1 900 jobs. In contrast to the previous period losses occurred in the telecommunications sector, which recorded a decline of almost 5 498 jobs, while this was partially offset by an employment gain (of 3 591 jobs) in the post and courier sector.

For more information, download the media presentation and complete report here.


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