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.

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.

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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.

(SADIBA/NAB Working group) 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.

(ITWeb) Read more


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.

(Independent Online) Read more


MobileTV South Africa has been granted additional trial licences by ICASA
25.11.2013 - South Africa South Africa
MobileTV has been granted additional trial licences by ICASA to test the Korean Digital Multimedia Broadcasting (DMB) technology also in East London, Port Elizabeth, and Durban- Pietermaritzburg service area for six months.

(MobileTV) Read more


The long road to DAB+
23.08.2013 - South Africa South Africa
DAB+ has been selected for South Africa with 18 slots allocated in the VHF band as part of the country’s migration to digital radio.

(Screen Africa) Read more


Mobile TV to expand trials
14.08.2013 - South Africa South Africa
Prospective broadcaster Mobile TV will expand its trial network using Korea’s digital multimedia broadcasting (DMB) technology, to the Western Cape and the Free State, founder Mothobi Mutloatse said on Wednesday. Mobile TV has already run a trial using DMB — which offers radio and video broadcasting services along with interactive “datacasting” — in Gauteng. It switched on test signals in the province in December 2010.

(TechCentral) Read more


Mobile TV makes case for DMB
30.07.2013 - South Africa South Africa
Mobile TV believes there is market demand for digital television and radio programming based on the Korean digital multimedia broadcasting standard it wants to launch in South Africa.

(TechCentral) Read more


Digital radio trials in SA: report
24.07.2013 - South Africa South Africa
South African radio broadcasters are set to start trialling digital radio channels using the DAB standard, the Sunday Times reported. The Digital Audio Broadcasting (DAB) standard has been in use since the 1990s, and its successor, DAB+, was introduced in 2007.

(MyBroadband) Read more


Digital radio to hit SA's airwaves
24.07.2013 - South Africa South Africa
DAB has been introduced in a number of countries around the world as a complement — at least for now — to the analogue FM and AM bands. Some countries, like Norway — which was the first country to launch a commercial DAB radio station — plan to switch off analogue radio broadcasts altogether..

(TechCentral) 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