South Africa Communications - 2023


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Telephones - fixed lines

total subscriptions: 1,472,191 (2021 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 2 (2021 est.)

Telephones - mobile cellular

total subscriptions: 100,328,005 (2021 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 169 (2021 est.)

Telecommunication systems

general assessment: South Africa’s telecom sector boasts one of the most advanced infrastructures on the continent; the focus in recent years has been on back haul capacity and on fiber and LTE networks to extend and improve internet service connectivity; with the ongoing migration to fiber, the incumbent telco expects to close down its copper network in 2024; the mobile sector has developed strongly in recent years, partly due to the poor availability and level of service of fixed-line networks, which meant that many people had no alternative to mobile networks for voice and data services; the multi-spectrum auction was delayed several times due to legal wrangling, and was finally held in March 2022; the delay caused difficulties for network operators, which were forced to reform spectrum for 3G and LTE use, and provide 5G services on temporary licenses; six qualified bidders acquired spectrum, netting the regulator ZAR14.4 billion in revenues; the market is shrugging off the impact of the pandemic, which had a significant impact on production and supply chains globally, and saw a slowdown in some network expansions, particularly around 5G; on the consumer side, spending on telecoms services and devices remains slightly under pressure amid ongoing macroeconomic challenges facing the country; the crucial nature of telecom services, both for general communication as well as a tool for home-working, will offset such pressures; in many markets the net effect should be a steady though reduced increase in subscriber growth (2022)

domestic: fixed-line is 2 per 100 persons and mobile-cellular is 169 telephones per 100 persons (2021)

international: country code - 27; landing points for the WACS, ACE, SAFE, SAT-3, Equiano, SABR, SAEx1, SAEx2, IOX Cable System, METISS, EASSy, and SEACOM/ Tata TGN-Eurasia fiber-optic submarine cable systems connecting South Africa, East Africa, West Africa, Europe, Southeast Asia, Asia, South America, Indian Ocean Islands, and the US; satellite earth stations - 3 Intelsat (1 Indian Ocean and 2 Atlantic Ocean) (2019)

Broadcast media

the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) operates 4 TV stations, 3 are free-to-air and 1 is pay TV;, a private station, is accessible to more than half the population; multiple subscription TV services provide a mix of local and international channels; well-developed mix of public and private radio stations at the national, regional, and local levels; the SABC radio network, state-owned and controlled but nominally independent, operates 18 stations, one for each of the 11 official languages, 4 community stations, and 3 commercial stations; more than 100 community-based stations extend coverage to rural areas

Internet country code


Internet users

total: 42.48 million (2021 est.)

percent of population: 72% (2021 est.)

Broadband - fixed subscriptions

total: 1,303,057 (2020 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 2 (2020 est.)

NOTE: The information regarding South Africa on this page is re-published from the 2023 World Fact Book of the United States Central Intelligence Agency and other sources. No claims are made regarding the accuracy of South Africa 2023 information contained here. All suggestions for corrections of any errors about South Africa 2023 should be addressed to the CIA or the source cited on each page.

This page was last modified 06 Dec 23, Copyright © 2023 ITA all rights reserved.