It goes without saying that the communications industry is one of the fastest developing industries world wide. The same is true in South Africa. Over the last couple of years, cell phones have exploded onto the scene and have changed the way we look at communication as a whole.
This sector contributed almost 10% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of South Africa and have been the fastest growing sector in the country. This is after the rapid expansion of communication networks across the entire country.
Mobile communications are far more popular than fixed line communications. Even the internet has become wireless. According to the Department of Trade and Industry, fixed line penetration is estimated at about 10%, where mobile penetration is estimated at about 93%. That is a difference of about 83%. This goes to show to where South Africa is headed in the long run.
For quite a long time, Telkom was the only licensed provider of fixed-line communications. Telkom is a listed company in which the government is the biggest shareholder. Telkom is also one of the companies that plays an important role in the optical fiber undersea cable project. The project is aimed at providing Africa with the telecommunication needs for about the next 25 years.
The cellular phone market has grown exponentially in the last couple of years. Almost each individual in South Africa has access to a cell phone. The country is also one of the fastest growing Groupe Speciale Mobile (GSM) markets in the world, currently ranking fourth.
Currently there are three major cellular service providers in South Africa. They are widely known to be in constant competition with each other. They are Vodacom, MTN and Cell C. For quite a few years, these were the only cellular service providers in South Africa. That is no longer the case. There are now other, but smaller, cellular service providers in South Africa. They are, amongst others 8ta, which was brought to life in partnership with Telkom.
The communications industry also ensures a large number of jobs. Service technicians are needed to ensure optimum functionality of the communications network in South Africa. There are also people needed to run the retail stores that were formed by these cellular service companies.
South Africa is also he largest internet market in the whole of Africa. It is estimated the there are about 9 million internet users in South Africa at the moment. With cellular devices also being able to connect to the internet, that figure will easily be multiplied.
According to research from the World Wide Worx, it is predicted that the demand for internet will continue to rise steadily in South Africa. They also estimated that the total amount of users will increase by about 500 000 users each year.
With more communication service providers that are being formed in South Africa, the prices for these services will also most probably become more competitive, which will be to the advantage of the user.
For an industry that have not been established for too long, South Africa is doing extremely well to deliver communication services to the people of South Africa. The proof is in the pudding, if you could read this, it is enough proof that South Africa has a well established communications industry.
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