Symbol image: cell tower

Telecommunication in South Africa

The development of telecommunications in South Africa is roughly equivalent to the United States. Under the country code +27, there were a total of 101.80 million connections in 2021. Among them were 100.33 million mobile phones, which corresponds to an average of 1.7 per person. In the US, this figure is 1.1 mobile phones per person.

With about 4.76 million webhosts, South Africa is below the world's average by population. At the end of 2020, 855,339 of these, or about 18 percent, were secured with SSL or comparable encryption.

Back to overview: South Africa

Development of telephone and internet connections

With an average download speed of 43.56 Mbit/second for fixed-network broadband internet, South Africa ranks 95th in an international comparison. The upload rate was only 35.34 Mbit/second (55th place).
In mobile internet, i.e., on tablets and smartphones, South Africa comes 60th with a download speed of 35.14 Mbit/second. The upload speed of around 7 Mbit was only enough for 127th place.

The Speedtest Global Index published regularly by Ookla is based on several million individual measurements in February 2023 from 180 countries.

The following diagrams show the development of the various telephone and internet connections as a percentage of the country's population. Values above 100 percent mean that, on average, every inhabitant has more than one connection.

Access to the internet in South Africa from 1990 - 2020

Broadband internet in South Africa 2002 - 2021

Symbol image: cell towerSouth Africa is lagging behind in the expansion of broadband internet connections. Around 70 percent of all residents have access to the internet. Around 3 percent have their own fast internet connection, which is at least faster than the former ISDN (more than 256 kbit/s). All fixed connections via DSL, cable or satellite were counted here, but not those connected to the internet via mobile communications.

Landlines 1990 - 2021

Mobile phones 1990 - 2021

The increasing prevalence of cell phones and the simultaneous decline in landline phones clearly indicate a change in South Africa. While the number of landlines has fallen significantly in recent years, the spread of cell phones has risen to 169 cell phone subscriptions per 100 people at last count. Such a clear shift does not occur in all countries, but the trend points in the same direction internationally.

All international calling codes

Distribution in 2021South Africa
South Africa
Broadband users1.69 m2.85 %127.03 m38.27 %
Landlines1.47 m2.48 %97.11 m29.26 %
Mobile cellulars100.33 m168.92 %361.62 m108.96 %

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