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.

Nafcoc invests in Mobile TV
09.07.2012 - South Africa - South Africa
Mobile TV, which has applied for a broadcasting licence from the Independent Communications Authority of SA, plans to introduce mobile television services using digital multimedia broadcasting (DMB) standard.
From TechCentral:

Radio experts advise presenters to respect their listeners as companions
05.07.2012 - South Africa - South Africa
The UK radio futurologist argued that the way people tune into radio platforms has changed because of the availability of different devices such as phones, computers, televisions and Digital Audio Broadcasting (DAB) technology.

New Samsung device, mobile TV tech for SA
12.03.2012 - South Africa - South Africa
Samsung Electronics, and International DMB Advancement Group (IDAG), recently announced the launch of digital radio, mobile TV and Internet services with the Samsung Galaxy S WiFi 5.0. The device will be available soon in Germany, the Netherlands, UK, ...
From MyBroadband:

New pay-TV operators on the way?
21.02.2012 - South Africa - South Africa
Mutloatse is a big proponent of a Korean broadcasting technology called digital multimedia broadcasting, or DMB, and of DAB radio. He says Mobile TV plans to offer a radio broadcasting network based on enhancement of the DAB standard, known as DAB , ...
From TechCentral:

New SA broadcast challenger edges closer to launch
16.09.2011 - South Africa - South Africa
It is also planning to introduce SA's first digital audio broadcasting (DAB) radio stations - seen potentially as an eventual replacement to FM radio - as well as "visual radio" services, which offer visuals over normal radio broadcasts. ...

MobileTV announces completion of SA technology trial
17.08.2011 - South Africa - South Africa
The DMB/DAB/DAB technology is widely used in over 40 countries”. Its President Gunnar Garfors says further: “The high acceptance level makes receivers cheaper and plentiful, and gives momentum to co-operation on services and business models across ...
From MyBroadband:

MobileTV abandons DVB-H - moves to DMB
14.12.2010 - South Africa - South Africa
MobileTV is no longer interested in the DVB-H (Digital Video Broadcasting – Handheld) broadcasting format. It has instead adopted the Korean Digital Multimedia Broadcasting (DMB) technology that will be coupled with the Digital Audio Broadcasting (DAB) format.

Mobile TV consortium (TV4U) trials DMB platform after missing out on DVB-H
11.10.2010 - South Africa - South Africa
... the locally-owned Mobile TV consortium to trial Digital Multimedia Broadcasting (DMB) technology for broadcast mobile TV services under the name 'TV4U'. ...
From TeleGeography:

DMB mobile TV to make debut in South Africa
04.10.2010 - South Africa - South Africa
The Mobile TV Consortium granted licence to test DMB in SA

Advent of digital TV hailed
12.11.2008 - South Africa - South Africa
This assurance was given by a panel of experts who took part in SAfm Radio's After Eight Debate on the advantages of "digital migration". ...
From Independent Online, South Africa:

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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