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.

South Africa: Digital Broadcasting Now - SADIBA Digital Broadcasting Workshop,15-17 April 2015, Johannesburg
09.04.2015 - South Africa - South Africa
The viewing public across Southern Africa has been promised new and compelling digital broadcast services for more than ten years. Too much time has been wasted talking about the technology, the transition to digital, release of digital divided spectrum, benefits to the consumer and the ITU deadlines. The time for action has come. The time for Digital Broadcasting is Now. Be in Johannesburg 15-17 April 2015 and drive the transition to digital broadcasting.
From SADIBA:

Sentech to run pilot of digital radio
26.08.2014 - South Africa - South Africa
The state-owned broadcasting signal distributor Sentech will test digital radio technologies from October, a move that will open the airwaves to more radio stations and improved audio quality.
From BDlive:

Challenges of digital radio dominate opening day of 2014 Joburg Radio Days
02.07.2014 - South Africa - South Africa
Audience segmentation, genre-based multiple streams and closer integration of social media with on-air broadcasting were some of the issues raised by the audience who were keen on understanding the technical possibilities of digital broadcasting.
From journalism.co.za:

Icasa licenses new pay-TV operators
30.04.2014 - South Africa - South Africa
Mobile TV wants to introduce TV services in South Africa using Korea’s digital multimedia broadcasting (DMB) technology as well as digital radio using the DAB and DAB+ standards.
Read more...

South Africa Moves Forward With DAB+ Trial
04.02.2014 - South Africa - South Africa
The WorldDMB Forum reports an update on the South African DAB+ trial, which will be conducted by the Southern African Digital Broadcasting Association in conjunction with the National Association of Broadcasters. The trial will consist of two high power transmitter stations in Johannesburg and Pretoria.
From Radio World:

South African Broadcasters Ready to Test DAB+
03.02.2014 - South Africa - South Africa
A DAB+ test is scheduled for Johannesburg and Pretoria, South Africa, according to WorldDMB News. After coverage verification tests, the two transmitters will operate as a single frequency network in VHF band III, on channel 13F at 239.2MHz.
From Radio magazine (press release):

Joint SADIBA/NAB Digital Radio DAB+ trial technical update
29.01.2014 - South Africa - South Africa
The South African DAB+ trial will consist of two high power transmitting stations (10kw transmitter power) 100kw ERP situated in Johannesburg and Pretoria in the province of Gauteng. The trial will operate as a SFN in VHF band III on Channel 13F on a frequency of 239.200MHz. This will happen after coverage verification at transmitter powers of 2kw, 5kw, and 10kw. The total area covered by the trial is 21185km2 and the total gross population covered is 10,705,387 (21.5% of total SA population). It is envisaged that between 18 and 20 radio stations from the Public, Commercial and Community sectors will participate in the trial.
Read more...

South African Broadcasters given the green light to launch DAB+ trial
20.12.2013 - South Africa - South Africa
The Joint SADIBA/NAB Digital Radio DAB+ Trial Working group is pleased to announce that the application for the high–powered DAB+ trial licence has been approved. The trial licence was granted to the South African Broadcasting Corporation (the applicant on behalf of the NAB radio members) by the regulator, the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA). The trial will run from the 1st April 2014 to 31st March 2015, and Sentech will be the signal distributor for the duration of the trial. The SADIBA/NAB Working group is encouraged by the commitment of all stakeholders in putting digital radio firmly on the South African broadcasting agenda.
Read more...

MobileTV targets April launch
28.11.2013 - South Africa - South Africa
MobileTV, which has been running trials for three years, is set to finally go live with its offerings in April, but not on a handheld device as it has yet to receive a licence. The company was this week granted additional trial licences by the Independent Communications Authority of SA (ICASA) to test the Korean Digital Multimedia Broadcasting (DMB) technology in East London, Port Elizabeth, and the Durban, Pietermaritzburg areas.
From ITWeb:

Broadcasting: Mobile TV to use Korean system
26.11.2013 - South Africa - South Africa
The Independent Communications Authority of SA (Icasa) has granted two additional licences to the Mobile TV consortium to test mobile television using a South Korean system in towns which include East London and Durban.
From Independent Online:

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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