SA telecom sector is Africa’s most developed

The market for telecommunication in South Africa is fast expanding and is likely to continue at the same rate in the coming years ahead, according to Research & Markets. It should come as no surprise that the country that invented touchtone dialling offers world-class telecommunications.

Telecommunications is one of the fastest growing sectors of South Africa's economy, driven by rapid growth in mobile telephony and broadband connectivity. With a network that is 99.9% digital and includes the latest in fixed-line, wireless and satellite communication, the country has the most developed telecom network in Africa.

Noteworthy developments in South Africa's telecoms sector include the suspension of the much-awaited framework for the allocation of spectrum for mobile broadband services. The telecoms regulator, ICASA, took the decision in March 2012 to suspend the process pending the publication of the government's revised broadband policy, which could influence its policies on the use of available spectrum. In many countries, policies on new spectrum allocation are often designed to facilitate the extension of wireless broadband services to rural areas.

Telkom, Tata Communications, Vodacom and MTN are the top players in the market. The mobile landscape is dominated by multinational companies Vodacom and MTN, with the smaller Cell C coming in third position. In 2010, Telkom also entered the mobile market with its own offering, 8ta, which will run off MTN's network infrastructure until Telkom rolls out its own base stations. There are also two mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs), which are cell-phone companies that operate in partnership with an existing mobile company, whose infrastructure they also use.

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