On your arrival in South Africa, you will probably want to communicate with your friends and family abroad. Thanks to the country's developed and modern telecommunications network, you can quite easily acquire a land line, mobile phone, or an internet connection. Take the time to compare the packages and prices offered by each service provider before choosing the one which best suits your needs.
Land lines in South Africa
The South African land line network provides coverage over 99.9% of the country. Telkom and Neotel are the main service providers. Telkom, previously a monopoly, still covers most of the country while Neotel provides services in selected areas. Find out if your area is covered on the Neotel website.
For more information regarding packages and facilities offered, please refer to your preferred service provider's website (find useful links below). Note that both Telkom and Neotel offer personalized services and attractive packages.
Online subscription is possible in the case of both service providers. Your request will then be assessed by a technician in terms of infrastructure, required material and coverage, etc. Subsequently, the agency will contact you for an appointment regarding the installation of your land line.
Using mobile phones in South Africa
The mobile telephony market is continuously developing in South Africa. Indeed, 90% of the country enjoys mobile network coverage. The market is shared by several service providers, namely Cell C, Vodacom, MTN South Africa, Virgin Mobile and Telkom Mobile.
Service providers are required by law to keep a record of clients’ contact details. These will be referred to as RIC. The Regulation of Interception of Communications and Provision of Communication-Related Information Act requires everyone who has an active cellphone number or purchases a new Prepaid Starter Pack, to register their SIM cards To subscribe for a mobile line, you simply have to drop by any agency with the following documents:
- a copy of your latest bank statement
- a certified copy of your identity card
- proof of residence
- proof of revenue (payslip).
Good to know:
You can choose between a prepaid or contract mobile connection.
A temporary sim card, which will allow you to use an anonymous number, is available in supermarkets. The temporary sim does not involve signing a contract or providing any identification documents.
Connecting to the internet
As a continuously developing country, South Africa enjoys a high Internet coverage with the required infrastructure in most major cities. Moreover, different types of subscriptions are provided by land line and mobile service providers. Feel free to check these offers on their respective websites. Some land line and mobile providers offer full packages including Internet.
Most areas still rely on Telkom’s infrastructure for internet access, but mobile service providers are putting down fibre optics and therefore providing healthy competition for land lines
Alternatively, you can also get connected in public places such as restaurants, hotels, offices and even shopping malls. Many of these public places offer free Wi-Fi – just ask for the password.
In general, services and packages offered vary from one service provider to another. You are therefore advised to check out and compared rates displayed on each service provider's website.