South Africa

Last update: 22-10-2018 - older versions

Introducing digital radio in South Africa

The Department of Communications South Africa published on the 28 September 2018 a notice inviting comments on its policy directive regarding the introduction of Digital Sound Broadcasting in South Africa. Interested parties are invited to make submissions on the suitability of the recommended digital sound broadcasting standards to complement the respective analogue sound broadcasting services. After considering the extensive trials undertaken by the sound broadcasting industry, ICASA (the South African broadcasting regulator) recommends the following digital sound broadcasting standard to compliment the respective analogue sound broadcasting service: DAB+ to complement VHF sound broadcasting services in the band 214 MHz to 230 MHz.

A statement regarding digital radio was issued on 25 June 2018 by the South African Minister of Communications the Honourable Nomvula Mokonyane. Following the successful trials in South Africa of digital radio broadcasting technologies including DAB+, communications minister Nomvula Mokonyane said she will issue a policy directive to the regulator, ICASA, in the next few weeks to pave the way for the development of a licensing framework.​

Access the full statement here.  https://www.doc.gov.za/print/8898

ICASA Industry Consultation 2018

South Africa's regulator ICASA solicited industry responses to its consultation paper on implementing digital radio - the deadline for submissions was early June 2018 - access the full paper here.

DAB+ Trial License awaiting a decision on a new 8 month licence for the Province of Gauteng and a new greenfield  8 month licence for Cape Town 

The Broadcast Regulator the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) has received applications for two new 8 month licences for Gauteng and Cape Town. A decision on these two applications is awaited.

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. 

 

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: 28-06-2018 - older versions

20 radio services from the Public, Commercial and Community Broadcasting sectors are participating in the trial. 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).

It is envisaged that 20 stereo radio channels from the public, commercial and community sectors participate. Not all the broadcasters will be from the Gauteng Province and a third of the mux is reserved for community broadcasters.

Mobile TV PTY was awarded a conditional subscription based commercial license by ICASA provided that they
submit additional information to ICASA within a stipulated 3 month period. Commercial spectrum for DMB is not currently available until after the TV digital migration process has been completed.

Last update: 13-04-2018 - older versions

ICASA Industry Consultation 2018

South Africa's regulator ICASA has solicited industry responses to its consultation paper on implementing digital radio - the deadline for submissions is early June 2018 - access the full paper here.

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.

The regulatory framework for digital radio in South Africa is currently under development. Recommendations made to the government and regulatory body are available via the website of SADIBA, the Southern African Digital Broadcasting Association.

Last update: 13-04-2018 - older versions

Emergency Warning Systems form part of the DAB+ trial parameters.

South African MP encourages small-scale digital migration
29.10.2018 - South Africa - South Africa
South Africa Deputy Minister for Communications Pinky Kekana has encouraged small radio stations, including campus radio stations, to expand into the digital platform and continue to churn out dynamic and informative content. The Deputy Minister also urged community radio stations to ensure they are ready for digital migration once the government was able to work with them.
From Africa Prime News:

South African government publishes Policy Directive on digital radio
01.10.2018 - South Africa - South Africa
A huge step towards digitising radio in South Africa has been taken by the South African Department of Communications, which published a policy directive on the introduction of digital sound broadcasting in South Africa. Interested parties have been given 30 working days from the date of publication 28 September 2018, to submit written input. Closing date being 9 November 2018.
From Department of Communications - Republic of South Africa:

WorldDAB: DAB+ will promote innovation and new commercial growth for broadcasters
12.07.2018 - South Africa - South Africa
WorldDAB addresses concerns of South African broadcasters on competition from streaming radio over the internet, the business model for commercial broadcasters and the availability of digital radio receivers.
From TechCentral:

South Africa looks to DAB+ for radio’s future
WorldDAB Members News - 11.07.2018 - Commercial Radio Australia - Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation (NRK) - Southern African Digital Broadcasting Association (SADIBA) - South Africa - South Africa
The DAB Day at Radio Days Africa covered the status of trials in South Africa and the Southern African region, along with case studies from speakers across the world on how broadcasters are using DAB+ to reach new audiences and the lessons learnt from their experiences.
From WorldDAB:

The future for DAB+ in South Africa
09.07.2018 - South Africa - South Africa
South African Deputy Minister for Communications Pinky Kekana has stressed the benefits and importance of implementing DAB+ digital radio in South Africa. Calling DAB+ “a game changer”, she added, “It provides our citizens with better quality radio, and from a government perspective, it helps us broadcast important emergency messages on all channels simultaneously."
From The Media Online:

South African minister Pinky Kekana describes DAB+ as a game changer
04.07.2018 - South Africa - South Africa
Deputy Minister of Communications in South Africa Pinky Kekana has described the prospect of DAB+ as a "game changer" in a speech to delegates at Radio Days Africa on 3 July. The Minister said that DAB+ would provide better quality radio, enable the government to broadcast critical emergency information simultaneously, and offer consumers greater content choice.
From South African Government:

Radio Days Africa in Johannesburg on 3-6 July
26.06.2018 - South Africa - South Africa
The opening day of Radio Days Africa on 3 July will be dedicated to DAB+. Organised in Johannesburg, Radio Days Africa hosts more than 300 delegates each year with 60 speakers from across the continent and around the world.
From La Lettre Pro:

South African government to issue directive to create digital radio licensing framework
25.06.2018 - South Africa - South Africa
Following the successful trials in South Africa of digital radio broadcasting technologies including DAB+, communications minister Nomvula Mokonyane she will issue a policy directive to the regulator, ICASA, in the next few weeks to pave the way for the development of a licensing framework.
From TechCentral:

DAB+ high on the agenda at Radio Days Africa
WorldDAB Members News - 07.06.2018 - Southern African Digital Broadcasting Association (SADIBA) - United Kingdom - United Kingdom - South Africa - South Africa
On the opening day of the conference, WorldDAB, in partnership with SADIBA, SENTECH and the University of the Witwatersrand, will be hosting a dedicated DAB+ seminar. With South Africa’s ongoing DAB+ trial about to be extended, and the regulator soliciting industry responses to its consultation paper on implementing digital radio, there is strong interest in moving to digital and the opportunities that DAB+ enables.
From WorldDAB:

South African regulator ICASA initiates digital radio discussion paper
23.04.2018 - South Africa - South Africa
The South African broadcast regulator ICASA has published a discussion paper containing information on digital audio broadcasting services in the country. ICASA expects written proposals from all interested parties on the discussion paper.
From Mediasat:

Select Country:

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