With its relatively well-developed and diverse infrastructure, South Africa is taking a regional lead role in the convergence of telecommunication and information technologies with the media and entertainment sector, promising reductions in telecommunication costs and better availability of information and services. Digital media and social media have reached a level of development that is fostering an associated advertising and marketing industry. The FIFA World Cup held in the country four years ago has boosted these developments.
The legalisation of VoIP Internet telephony in 2005 marked the beginning of a fundamental change in the country's telecoms landscape. Billions of dollars are being invested into IP-based next-generation networks that are capable of delivering converged services more efficiently. Telecom carriers and ISPs are moving into delivering audio and video content over their networks, while in turn the traditional electronic media carriers have discovered the potential of their infrastructure for telecommunications service delivery. Triple play offerings are available that combine voice, data and IPTV services.
Recent years were characterised by further improvements of national and international fibre optic infrastructure which has led to better bandwidth availability and lower broadband prices. Following delays, the migration to digital terrestrial TV (DTT) is scheduled to be completed by 2014/15.
While South Africa lags behind other countries on the continent in the development of e-government, e-health and e-learning applications, it is a regional leader in the areas of online retail, electronic banking, mobile banking, social media and cloud computing.
Maturing VoIP services are delivering corporate productivity gains and fostering a rapidly growing call centre industry; FttH and VDSL2 deployments enable better IPTV and triple play services; Switchover to Digital Terrestrial TV (DTT) in 2014/15; Rapidly growing online retail, online media and internet advertising sectors; Very competitive mobile banking sector; Emerging cloud services.
Companies covered in this report:
Telkom SA, Neotel, Transtel, Eskom, SITA, MultiChoice, Goal Technology Solutions (GTS), SmartVillage, Internet Solutions, Vodacom Business, MTN Business (Verizon Business, UUNet), MWEB, Vox Telecom, Storm Telecom, iBurst, Vodacom, Cell C, Sentech, Orbicom, South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC), MXit, Naspers, Media24, Standard Bank, First National Bank, ABSA, Nedbank, Barclays Bank.