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.

New LG phone with DAB+ showcased in South Africa
15.03.2016 - LG Electronics WorldDAB Member - Southern African Digital Broadcasting Association (SADIBA) WorldDAB Member - South Africa South Africa
Industry players hope the move by the Korean consumer electronics giant will spur other smartphone manufacturers to include DAB+ receivers in their future handsets. The launch of the device comes as South Africa makes progress with a trial of DAB+ technology.

(TechCentral) Read more


Adopting digital radio
24.08.2015 - South Africa South Africa
In South Africa the National Association of Broadcasters and the Southern African Digital Broadcasting Association (Sadiba), are busy with DAB+ digital radio technology trials, which are being headed by Dave Cherry. Cherry shares with Screen Africa how Africa and the rest of the world are moving towards this digital medium.

(Screen Africa ) Read more


South Africa gears up for digital radio
20.04.2015 - WorldDAB News - South Africa South Africa
South Africa still hasn't switched on commercial digital terrestrial television broadcasts, but that isn't holding back the broadcasting industry from running trials to test digital radio broadcasts.

(TechCentral) Read more


SADIBA Will Host Conference on Digital Broadcasting in Johannesburg
13.04.2015 - WorldDAB News - South Africa South Africa
Southern African Digital Broadcasting Association is hosting an extensive conference on Digital Radio (and TV) broadcasting, next week on April 15, 16, and 17 in Johannesburg. At this conference, WorldDMB will give an international update on progress in Europe, Asia Pacific and Arab States on DAB/DAB+.

(Radio magazine) Read more


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.

(SADIBA) Read more


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.

(BDlive) Read more


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.

(journalism.co.za) Read more


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.

(Radio World) Read more


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.

(Radio magazine (press release)) 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