Telkom South Africa plans to leave the legacy copper access network that once underpinned its business within 24 months, TechCentral reported. CEO Serame Taukobong said that within the next eighteen to 24 months, Telkom is likely to have “totally exited” from copper as it moves customers to newer technologies such as fibre and fixed 4G/5G. Its IT services business BCX, which also sells connectivity to enterprises, is likely to terminate its copper-based offerings within the next twelve months, Taukobong said. Openserve and the Telkom Consumer businesses will probably take a little longer. 

The number of copper fixed lines in service had plunged to 882,000 by 30 September, down by 21.1 percent from a year ago. At the turn of the century, Telkom had more than 5 million fixed lines in service, but this figure has fallen steadily, driven in large part by consumers moving to mobile services for both voice and Internet. 

Taukobong said the remaining copper access lines are mostly in homes, especially in smaller towns, and in small and medium-sized businesses that have not yet switched to fibre. There are also still payphones in public places, including hospitals and prisons, that have not yet been decommissioned

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