South Africa - Key Statistics, Telecom Market and Regulatory Overviews
South Africa's telecom sector boasts the continent's most advanced networks in terms of technology deployed and services provided. In a virtually saturated voice market, four mobile networks are competing for market share in the next growth wave, mobile broadband. Following years of delays with its licensing, the second fixed-line operator Neotel has gained market share in competition with the incumbent, Telkom. Although other sweeping liberalisation measures were also delayed by years, this has changed the country's telecoms landscape fundamentally, and resulted in lower prices for consumers. Under a converging regulatory regime, hundreds of alternative service providers are pushing into the market with converged services.
The end of Telkom's monopoly on international submarine fibre optic cables has reduced the cost of telecommunication in South Africa dramatically. Three new cables have reached the country in the past few years despite regulatory hurdles.
Key regulatory matters currently shaping the market include mergers and acquisitions, the licensing of WiMAX and LTE spectrum as well as digital dividend spectrum, the unbundling of the local loop (ULL, or LLU), and the reduction of interconnect charges.
Licensing of LTE, WiMAX and digital dividend frequency spectrum; Local Loop Unbundling developments (LLU, ULL); legal disputes surround interconnect charges.