South Africa ranks 23rd in telecommunications development in the world and has approximately 4, 92 million installed telephones and 4,3 million installed exchange lines.
National operator Telkom has met and exceeded its roll-out targets. South Africa has a large transmission infrastructure, necessitated by the country’s immense geographical area of 1, 2 million square kilometers. Covering about 156 million circuit-kilometers, the broadcast network constitutes the backbone of all telecommunications services.
The network is almost wholly digital. Digital microwave and optical fibre serve as the chief transmission media for the inter-primary network, interconnecting all major centres. Telkom is the only provider of services by default.
South Africa is the fourth fastest growing GSM (Global Systems for Mobile Communications) market in the world with the operators Vodacom, MTN, and Cell C. It is growing at a rate of 50% per year.
Market size was 14, 4 million users in February 2003 according to Cellular Online and could grow to 19 million by 2006. It says that the SA market was worth R23 billion and was said to be worth R45 billion at the end of 2004.
Value-adding cellular growth rate network operators offer services such as Internet connectivity, electronic mail, protocol conversion, data processing and admittance into global databases. South Africa has one of the most advanced telecommunication systems of all talented markets.
The government is dedicated to making technological advances reachable for the South African community as a whole. This includes the installation of Public Information Terminals in post offices. Furthermore, Multi-Purpose Community Centrums are being established countrywide, where previously underprivileged communities can access government related information.
The African Telecommunications Union has launched the African Connection Project, which provides for sector streamlining through new policy and regulatory frameworks that will make much-needed investment possible. The plan has the support of 44 member states of the Pan African Telecommunications Union.
The World Bank and other institutions are supporting and funding the projects. Six key African telecommunications projects have been prioritized: telemedicine, telehealth, tele-education, tele-agriculture, infrastructure development, telecentre/Internet access and centres of excellence.