Telecommunications in South Africa

By 15th August 2017Blog

The telecommunication infrastructure in South Africa is modern and efficient. The growth of this infrastructure started in 1997 with Telkom. Telkom was partly privatized to enter a partnership with 2 companies, one being a US telecommunications company. A second operator joined the field in 2002 and recently has been operating under the name of Neotel.

The big 5 cellular networks provide service to over half South Africa’s population. This allows us to have the 4th most advanced telecommunications network globally.

The first known use of telecommunications was in 1876. This was a single line telegraph connecting Cape Town to Simonstown. Early undersea cables were introduced at about the same time connecting Durban to Europe and later connecting the rest of the world. The network continued to grow as international technology developed. By the 1960’s South Africa was connected to 72 nations.

The 90’s saw the launch of South Africa’s mobile operations, this is where Telkom and Vodacom (then Vodafone) partnered together. Telkom sold Vodacom in 2008 to focus on their own network.

Although South Africa’s internet is seen as more expensive in comparison to other developed countries, broadband and more recently fibre optics are easily obtainable. The fibre boom in South Africa started when the government signed legislation that allowed private operators to build their own networks. This allowed for companies like Vodacom, Neotel, Telkom and many more to construct their own country wide fibre networks.

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