South Africa has a sizeable “digital divide”, with urban areas benefitting from a range of modern technologies while rural areas tend to be less connected. However, with a renewed draft broadband policy, South Africa now has a framework for developing the ICT infrastructure that will help its economy modernise and thrive. In the sphere of backhaul infrastructure, the private sector has a strong presence and is increasingly extending high-quality services to areas of high demand. Competitive as it is, South Africa’s telecoms sector continues to see growth and attract the attention of foreign investors. Average revenue per user has stabilised recently, and operators are pushing for greater take-up of data services to bolster margins. Options for potential new entrants to the market include launching a mobile virtual network operator or acquiring a smaller player already in operation. Building up a new network is considered unlikely due to the cost, although infrastructure sharing could bring this down.
This chapter contains an interview with Andile Ngcaba, Chairman, Dimension Data; and a roundtable with Alan Knott-Craig, CEO, Cell C; Karel Pienaar, Group Chief Strategy Officer, MTN SA; and Shameel Joosub, CEO, Vodacom.