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.

LM Radio Trials on MobileTV's DMB Platform
17.08.2012 - South Africa South Africa
“This agreement between LM Radio and Mobile TV ensures that this new DMB service has compelling content of a high quality music mix, which is sorely missing in current programing in South Africa,” said Mothobi Mutloatse, chairman of Mobile TV.

(Radio World) Read more


LM Radio on Mobile TV's DMB platform
13.08.2012 - South Africa South Africa
As per a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between LM Radio owner T&W Management Pty Ltd and Mobile TV Pty Ltd, the radio station’s programmes are trialing on the Korean developed Digital Multimedia Broadcasting (DMB) platform operated by Mobile TV from Johannesburg’s Sentech tower.

(Screen Africa) Read more


LM Radio the station for Happy Listening is now trialling on Mobile's TV, DMB, from the Sentech tower in Brixton
09.08.2012 - South Africa South Africa
T&W Management Pty Ltd the owner of LM Radio, and Mobile TV Pty Ltd signed a memorandum of understanding on 17 July 2012 whereby the LM Radio programmes will be carried on the Korean developed Digital Multimedia Broadcasting (DMB) paltform operated by Mobile TV.

Read more


Mobile TV gets Nafcoc investment
10.07.2012 - South Africa South Africa
... the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) and plans to use South Korean digital multimedia broadcasting technology (the DMB standard) to introduce mobile television services and digital audio broadcasting (DAB) radio stations.

(Screen Africa) Read more


Nafcoc's purchase of 20% stake to take Mobile TV to wider audience
10.07.2012 - South Africa South Africa
MOBILE TV, a black-owned consortium that aims to introduce mobile television services in South Africa, will be able to market its products to a wider audience after the National African Federated Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Nafcoc), the black ...

(Business Day) Read more


Nafcoc buys into Mobile TV
10.07.2012 - South Africa South Africa
The National African Federated Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Nafcoc) has purchased a 20% stake in Mobile TV, the brainchild of Dr Mothobi Mutloatse, founder and chairman of Mobile TV.

(Gadget) Read more


Nafcoc acquires 20% stake in Mobile TV
10.07.2012 - South Africa South Africa
Mobile TV is the brainchild of Mothobi Mutloatse, its founder and chairman. “This investment is likely to have a major impact on ownership, control and management demographics in SA,” Mutloatse said. “The Nafcoc investment is a major step, as it represents ...

(BusinessLIVE) Read more


Nafcoc buys 20% of Mobile TV as it readies for a permanent licence
10.07.2012 - South Africa South Africa
Mobile TV founder and chairperson Dr Mothobi Mutloatse declined to divulge the details of the transaction, but told Engineering News Online that this was a “major accomplishment” and a formal ceremony would be held within a week. “This investment is ...

(Creamer Media's Engineering News) Read more


Nafcoc buys stake in Mobile TV
10.07.2012 - South Africa South Africa
THE National African Federated Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Nafcoc), the black business support group, has purchased a 20% stake in Mobile TV, a black-owned consortium that hopes to introduce mobile television services in South Africa in the ...

(Business Day) Read more


Mobile TV gets black business backing
10.07.2012 - South Africa South Africa
The National African Federated Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Nafcoc), has invested in mobile broadcasting technology by buying a 20% stake in Mobile TV.

(BusinessTech) 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