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Communications (Telephone, Post, Internet, TV, Radio)

South Africa - Communications (Telephone, Post, Internet, TV, Radio)


Telkom (state-owned), is the country's only land-line service provider. The network is extensive and covers all major and most minor areas of the country, but call charges are among the highest in the world. MTN, Cell C, and Vodacom are the country's three mobile operators and offer a multitude of contract, pay-as-you go and 3G services to clients. Cellphone usage is pervasive in South African society.

Government-owned television stations SABC 1, 2, 3, and eTV (a privately funded, yet free channel) comprise the four basic channels offered and are immediately accessible upon purchase of a TV; proof of a valid TV license is usually required when purchasing a TV. Subscription-based channels MNET and DStv offer a broad cross-section of English content. The latter is a satellite service that offers an extensive array of sports channels as well as the likes of Sky News, CNN International, National Geographic Channel, The History Channel, and Cartoon Network; more than fifty channels in all.

Internet connectivity, although readily available, lags behind much of the world. Because local call costs are not free, dial-up connections incur per-second call charges in addition to the required ISP fees. Broadband connections are more economical but considerably more expensive than similar services offered in other countries. Broadband service is only available in major urban centers and a monthly cap of 3GB is imposed on all international traffic. Additional bandwidth can be purchased at an extra cost. Internet cafes, though not pervasive, are fairly widespread in urban centers and offer reasonable rates, usually around $2 an hour.

Radio is freely available on AM and FM frequencies and stations are mostly unique to particular provinces. Talk radio and music stations comprise the bulk of these.


Added 21/11/05 by Ean - While broadband is only available in the cities, ISDN is available in most larger towns (albeit again expensive, but very cheap after hour rates are now avaialble on ISDN).

Added 18/12/05 by Niel - Another thing on mobiles (cell phones as they are known in Africa) is that 3G is available on MTN and Vodacom. So you can also check your emails via Blueberry or other mobile phones mostly in the urban areas.


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