South Africa

Last update: 16.07.2020 - older versions

South African government directive to licence for digital radio

On 10 July 2020 South Africa's Minister of Communications, Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams, issued the policy directive to the regulator ICASA allowing for the licensing of Digital Sound Broadcasting. DAB+ has already been officially endorsed for use in South Africa. Local receiver manufacture is not mandatory, and many cars on the road already have DAB+ as standard. 

South African regulator ICASA to publish draft regulation for licensing DAB+ in 2020

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's draft regulation on implementation is anticipated 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.

Cape Town trial

In November 2019, a DAB+ Trial Licence for Cape Town South Africa was been granted to Sentech SOC by the regulator ICASA. This site has existing Band III VHF infrastructure and a frequency has become available with the closing of one of the analogue TV services. 

 

 

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: 08.11.2019 - older versions

Johannesburg / Pretoria trial renewed

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).

Cape Town trial

In November 2019, a DAB+ Trial Licence for Cape Town South Africa was been granted to Sentech SOC by the regulator ICASA. This site has existing Band III VHF infrastructure and a frequency has become available with the closing of one of the analogue TV services. 

 

 

Last update: 13.07.2020 - older versions

The regulator 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's draft regulation on implementation is anticipated during the current financial year (2019/20), following the government policy directive issued on 10 July 2020 to allow for the licensing of Digital Sound Broadcasting.

DAB+ was officially 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.

South Africa on path to DAB+ radio
16.04.2018 - South Africa South Africa
South Africa is making new moves to implement digital radio services, after regulator ICASA published a discussion document on the subject, giving the public until early June to comment. "The overall summary of findings indicated the DAB+ trial achieved a large portion of the total scope of the trial. The DAB+ technology proved to be easy to implement, in that it is power and spectrum efficient," ICASA said during a testing phase for DAB+ in November 2013.

(ITWeb) Read more


Icasa publishes discussion document on digital sound broadcasting services
16.04.2018 - South Africa South Africa
A new discussion document published by the South African communication authority Icasa, gives notice of their intention to conduct an inquiry on implementing a digital radio broadcasting service in South Africa. Interested parties are invited to make written representations within 45 working days.

(Bizcommunity.com) Read more


Icasa takes first step to commercial digital radio in SA
13.04.2018 - South Africa South Africa
Communications regulator Icasa has taken the first step to possibly introducing DAB+ radio in South Africa. The authority has published a discussion document on digital sound broadcasting services to solicit feedback from the industry. Parties interested in commenting on the discussion document must make representations with 45 days.

(Moneyweb.co.za) Read more


Icasa takes first step to commercial digital radio in South Africa
13.04.2018 - South Africa South Africa
Councillor Dimakatso Qocha said digital radio could help improve spectrum efficiency and management, and offer more choice for consumers.

(TechCentral) Read more


Icasa looking to move digital radio forward in South Africa
13.04.2018 - South Africa South Africa
Icasa has published a discussion document as part of the process to implement digital radio.

(MyBroadband) Read more


South African communications authority ICASA to consider DAB+ as part of digital radio inquiry
13.04.2018 - South Africa South Africa
The discussion document released by ICASA gives notice of the authority's intention to conduct an inquiry into the prospects of implementing a digital sound broadcasting service in South Africa. Interested parties are invited to make written representations within 45 working days.

(ICASA) Read more


Audi A7 Sportback (2018)
22.02.2018 - South Africa South Africa
The radio will adapt between FM, DAB and web channels in the new Audi A7 Sportback.

(Trusted Reviews) Read more


Google research: DAB+ a priority for German motorists
12.02.2018 - South Africa South Africa
DAB (Digital Audio Broadcasting) is top of mind for German consumers right now, following a 2010 country-wide initiative to convert all radio and TV signals to digital. The DAB search trend has experienced sustained year-over-year growth at a rate of 41% in Germany since 2010.

(Wheels24) Read more


Radio and digital form the perfect media partnership
27.11.2017 - South Africa South Africa
Radio broadcasters are adapting well to how digital channels are changing the industry, turning mobile phones and the Internet into a way to extend their brands, protect their listener share, and reach new audiences.

(Media Update) Read more


Factum Radioscape brings DAB+ to South Africa
28.09.2017 - Factum Radioscape - Southern African Digital Broadcasting Association (SADIBA) WorldDAB Member - South Africa South Africa
In a major upgrade to their DAB+ trial head-end, SADIBA (the Southern African Digital Broadcasting Association) invited Factum Radioscape to deploy a replacement DAB+ head-end in May 2017 for the remainder of the current DAB+ trial.

(Factum Radioscape) Read more


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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
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
The National Association of Broadcasters of South Africa