South Africa

Last update: 09-04-2019 - older versions

South African regulator endorses transition to digital radio

ICASA published in April 2019 the findings of its inquiry into the deployment of digital radio in South Africa, stating that spectrum scarcity and high transmission costs necessitate the consideration of digital radio. ICASA will develop draft regulation on implementation during the current financial year (2019/20).

In 2018, the Digital Sound Broadcasting (DSB) Council Committee was formed, the purpose of which is to make progress towards expanding regulatory scope for digital sound broadcasting technologies, and accommodating additional sound broadcasters in conventional and other frequency bands.  As part of the enquiry the DSB committee conducted international study visits to Australia, Germany, Norway, USA and United Kingdom.

Johannesburg / Pretoria trial renewed

The National Association of Broadcasters (the NAB) and Southern African Digital Broadcasting Association (SADIBA) are currently engaged in a DAB+ trial in the Gauteng province (Johannesburg and Pretoria) and a new greenfield DAB+ trial for Cape Town. 

In January 2019, it was announced that the Johannesburg / Pretoria South African DAB+ trial had been granted a new license. The license, renewed as of 30 January 2019, is valid for a period of eight months, with the possibility of a six-month extension.

Last update: 18-08-2015 - older versions

The DAB+ trial covers the Province of Gauteng. Please see terrestrial coverage map here.

Last update: 28-06-2018 - older versions

In this country there is

on air.

The DAB+ trial is temporarily off air while the process for applying for a new trial license is ongoing.

The DAB+ trial will consist of 1 mux broadcasting 20 X stereo channels using various bit rates in the province of Gauteng. All of the participants use slide show and other PAD services like SLS. Five slideshows are dynamically generated. Participation is not limited to Gauteng based broadcasters thereby allowing broadcasters from other provinces to trial. One third of the mux is reserved exclusively for community broadcasters. In total there will be 20 DAB+ services on air, 19 DAB+ programmes will run simulcast on AM/FM and one will be exclusive to digital.

Simulcast on AM / FM Exclusive on digital Total of services
DAB+ programmes 19 1 20

Last update: 28-06-2018 - older versions

The Joint SADIBA/NAB Digital Radio DAB+ trial Working Group is currently meeting on a regular basis with members from the automobile manufactures to encourage their participation by providing a number of vehicles fitted with OEM DAB+ receivers.  BMW South Africa has participated extensively in the Trial.

Many new imported automobiles imported into South Africa have DAB+ receivers fitted (Lexus, Toyota, Ford). Ford SA activates all DAB+ receivers in automobiles sold in South Africa.

Last update: 28-06-2018 - older versions

As South Africa is currently in trial status, DAB+ receivers are not officially currently available in the market place although some models have found their way into retail stores

Last update: 09-04-2019 - older versions

On the 29th  January 2019 the South African Broadcast Regulator ICASA granted a new eight month DAB+ trial licence which will provide coverage in Johannesburg/Pretoria Gauteng Province.  20 radio services drawn from the PBS, Commercial and Community Radio sectors will participate in the trial. On air date is planned mid-March 2019.

Phase 1 of the initial trial license period focused on network verification processes and this has now been completed. The 2nd phase which focused on audio and data testing has been completed. The new license phase focuses on closed listener group tests and further audio processing and data testing. The public broadcaster the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) applied for this new trial license on behalf of all the other radio broadcasters. South Africa is the first country in the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) to carry out DAB+ trials.

The trial consists of two high power transmitting stations (10kw transmitter power) 100kw ERP situated in Johannesburg and Pretoria in the province of Gauteng. The trial operates as a SFN in VHF band III on Channel 13F on a frequency of 239.200MHz. Coverage verification at transmitter powers of 2kw, 5kw, and 10kw has been concluded. Extensive testing of vertical polarisation versus horizontal is currently underway.  The total area covered by the trial is 21185 km2 and the total gross population covered is 10 705 387 (21.5% of total SA population).

 

Last update: 09-04-2019 - older versions

ICASA published in April 2019 the findings of its inquiry into the deployment of digital radio in South Africa, stating that spectrum scarcity and high transmission costs necessitate the consideration of digital radio. ICASA will develop draft regulation on implementation during the current financial year (2019/20).

DAB was adopted as a South African standard by the South African Bureau of Standards (SABS) in 2005.

ICASA published a draft Terrestrial Broadcasting Frequency Plan 2013. In this document’s Annexure D “DAB Frequency Allotments,” the regulatory authority lays out plans to make room in the broadcast spectrum for digital audio broadcasting (DAB). It appears to have allotted 18 slots for DAB in Band III as the country begins the transition.

 

Last update: 13-04-2018 - older versions

Emergency Warning Systems form part of the DAB+ trial parameters.

ICASA plans to introduce digital radio broadcasting but keep analogue stations for time being
09.04.2019 - South Africa - South Africa
ICASA said that even though analogue medium wave (AM) frequencies are ample, the sound quality is generally poor, with higher transmission costs. ICASA said that even though FM still offers good quality sound, spectrum scarcity and high transmission costs necessitate consideration for digital sound broadcasting services
From Telecompaper:

South African regulator endorses transition to digital radio
08.04.2019 - South Africa - South Africa
ICASA has published the findings of its inquiry into the deployment of digital radio in South Africa, stating that spectrum scarcity and high transmission costs necessitate the consideration of digital radio. ICASA will develop draft regulation on implementation during the current financial year (2019/20).
From Independent Communications Authority of South Africa:

South Africa on the right path to digitisation
27.11.2018 - South Africa - South Africa
Led by Mr Ndumiso Dana, a delegation of representatives of the South African regulator ICASA, have just completed a tour visiting Germany, Norway, the UK and Australia to discuss digital sound broadcasting and the many and varied aspects of planning to launch permanent services.
From WorldDAB:

South African MP encourages small-scale digital migration
29.10.2018 - South Africa - South Africa
South Africa Deputy Minister for Communications Pinky Kekana has encouraged small radio stations, including campus radio stations, to expand into the digital platform and continue to churn out dynamic and informative content. The Deputy Minister also urged community radio stations to ensure they are ready for digital migration once the government was able to work with them.
From Africa Prime News:

South African government publishes Policy Directive on digital radio
01.10.2018 - South Africa - South Africa
A huge step towards digitising radio in South Africa has been taken by the South African Department of Communications, which published a policy directive on the introduction of digital sound broadcasting in South Africa. Interested parties have been given 30 working days from the date of publication 28 September 2018, to submit written input. Closing date being 9 November 2018.
From Department of Communications - Republic of South Africa:

WorldDAB: DAB+ will promote innovation and new commercial growth for broadcasters
12.07.2018 - South Africa - South Africa
WorldDAB addresses concerns of South African broadcasters on competition from streaming radio over the internet, the business model for commercial broadcasters and the availability of digital radio receivers.
From TechCentral:

South Africa looks to DAB+ for radio’s future
WorldDAB Members News - 11.07.2018 - Commercial Radio Australia - Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation (NRK) - Southern African Digital Broadcasting Association (SADIBA) - South Africa - South Africa
The DAB Day at Radio Days Africa covered the status of trials in South Africa and the Southern African region, along with case studies from speakers across the world on how broadcasters are using DAB+ to reach new audiences and the lessons learnt from their experiences.
From WorldDAB:

The future for DAB+ in South Africa
09.07.2018 - South Africa - South Africa
South African Deputy Minister for Communications Pinky Kekana has stressed the benefits and importance of implementing DAB+ digital radio in South Africa. Calling DAB+ “a game changer”, she added, “It provides our citizens with better quality radio, and from a government perspective, it helps us broadcast important emergency messages on all channels simultaneously."
From The Media Online:

South African minister Pinky Kekana describes DAB+ as a game changer
04.07.2018 - South Africa - South Africa
Deputy Minister of Communications in South Africa Pinky Kekana has described the prospect of DAB+ as a "game changer" in a speech to delegates at Radio Days Africa on 3 July. The Minister said that DAB+ would provide better quality radio, enable the government to broadcast critical emergency information simultaneously, and offer consumers greater content choice.
From South African Government:

Radio Days Africa in Johannesburg on 3-6 July
26.06.2018 - South Africa - South Africa
The opening day of Radio Days Africa on 3 July will be dedicated to DAB+. Organised in Johannesburg, Radio Days Africa hosts more than 300 delegates each year with 60 speakers from across the continent and around the world.
From La Lettre Pro:

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Key Information

Status: trial and/or regulation
Population: 53.0 million
Population coverage: Sparkline Graph 21.5%
Services: 20 DAB+
Last update: 28.06.2018

Useful Links

Telecommunications & Postal Services Republic of South Africa Policy Review Reports 2015
The National Association of Broadcasters of South Africa
SADIBA - Southern African Digital Broadcasting Association
Sentech - State-owned network operator in South Africa
Telecommunications & Postal Services Republic of South Africe
Independent Communications Authority of South Africa - Regulator