1 January 2023 - 31 December 2023

South African Telecommunications Sentiment Index

woman using a cellphone
  • June 06, 2024

Data-driven insights on closing the telecom customer sentiment gap.


The telecommunications industry finds itself in an age of reconfiguration. As telecom leaders make sense of this continuous reconfiguration and reinvention, addressing a multitude of areas vying for their focus, it is key to remember who is at the heart of their future business successes - the customer.

Closing the telecom customer sentiment gap should be seen as a critical imperative for the industry: to elevate customer satisfaction to levels commensurate with the vital role telecommunications play in daily life.

PwC is proud to partner with DataEQ to benchmark consumer sentiment on social media among South Africa’s major telecom operators and to provide data-driven insights on how to improve customer experience.

“The time for telecoms to prioritise improving customer satisfaction is now.”

Nana Madikane | PwC TMT Africa Industry Leader

Key report themes

Customer service

Customers are left dissatisfied by a lack of efficient feedback and issue resolution, particularly when contacting call centres. The industry made little progress from the prior year to address this key customer pain point.

Call centres

Call centres remained the most complained about channel. Despite the growing availability of digital channels, telecoms continue to rely heavily on telephonic support, with disappointing results.

Financial services

Financial services on offer from telecoms had varying performances, with mobile money driving interest and customer praise, but insurance driving risk and complaints.


Network coverage complaints remained prevalent across all telecoms. With 335 days of load shedding in 2023, consumer perceptions of network quality did not improve and drove operational risk.


Actionable social conversation is increasing. 45.3% of consumers’ conversation was actionable (up 14% from last year). This means that more social media conversation required the action of a service agent this year.


Consumers don’t feel that they’re being treated fairly by telecoms, particularly because of products that aren’t fit for purpose and shortfalls in customer service. Consumers are being forced to rely on multiple networks to ensure connectivity.

How we can help

Industry intervention is needed. The 2023 index highlights the need to remain competitive and respond to the rapidly evolving needs and preferences of consumers, with the following key interventions that can encourage successes in the short to medium term:

We assist clients in redesigning their end-to-end customer journeys, with prioritised areas of intervention.

Our Customer Service Assessment is a rapid discovery exercise that identifies possible areas of intervention in the service operating model across people, process and technology - providing targeted initiatives that will improve the service experience and the capabilities required to execute them.

We help clients solve the important challenge of creating a more effective and efficient customer service operating model and omnichannel strategy.

This includes:

  • Implementing artificial intelligence (AI) powered service to drive efficiencies
  • Streamlining and automating back office operations such as billing
  • Designing and implementing digitisation and UI/UX initiatives such as mobile app channels.


Telecoms who leverage their sustainability initiatives to drive positive reputational sentiment will see brand enhancement and value creation over the longer term.

We help clients accurately measure and report on their social impact and then effectively communicate these.

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Contact us

Nana Madikane

Nana Madikane

TMT Africa Industry Leader, PwC South Africa

Tel: +27 (0) 11 797 5490

Elmo Hildebrand

Elmo Hildebrand

Telecommunications Leader, PwC South Africa

Tel: +27 (0) 11 797 4000