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South Africa
Internet Usage and Marketing Report

Internet Usage and Population Statistics:




% Pen.

Usage Source




5.5 %





6.2 %





6.8 %





7.1 %

Wide World Worx




7.4 %

Wide World Worx




7.4 %

Wide World Worx




10.5 %


Latest Population Estimate:
48,810,427 population for 2012, according to US Census Bureau.

South Africa Country Area and Maps:
1,219,090 sq km - see South Africa maps.

Gross National Income:
GNI per capita is US$ 6,100 (2011) according to World Bank.

South Africa Internet Service Providers (ISP):
ISPA Members List.

South Africa Search Engines and Directories:

South Africa Online
South African Directory.

South African web sites Directory.

South African Web
Directory featuring local links and information.

Search ZA
New comprehensive search engine for .ZA domains.

South African Directories
List to South Africa search engines.

African business website and one of the world's top
mining, energy and international trade websites.

South African stainless steel business directory.

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Internet Growth in South Africa

Forecast for December 2012

Internet users in South Africa for year-end 2012 is estimated at 8,500,000 according to South African leading technology research organisation: Wide World Worx.

"From having no choice at all, the South African market will suddenly be faced with two new players who are both eager to supply Internet access needs", says World Wide Worx MD Arthur Goldstuck, who led the research in collaboration with IT outsourcing organisation Netsurit and internet service value-added applications provider Systemsfusion.

Internet Growth in South Africa

The last three years have seen a dramatic slowdown in Internet access growth in South Africa. According to ITU, 3.1-million South Africans had access to the Internet at the end of 2002.
Growth in Internet access in 2002 was around 7%, the slowest since the Internet became available to the South African public in 1993, and the first time it had been below 20%.

In 2003 growth was set to be only 6%, with 3.28 million South Africans expected to have access to the Internet by the end of 2003. This is a mere 1 in every 13 South Africans, marginally up from 1 in 15 at the end of 2001. (South Africa's total estimated population stands at 47.5-million.)

For the first time, the annual survey included a survey of small, medium and micro enterprise (SMME) usage of the Internet, which saw research partner Netsurit surveying more than 2200 SMMEs with Internet access.

Almost half of SMMEs reported e-mail as their primary use of the Internet, while a third cited banking as their primary online activity.

The survey also found that small businesses with Internet connections were increasingly pursuing high-speed connectivity, with only one out of five using traditional dial-up modem access.

On the technology front, the report concludes that 2004 will see the biggest explosion yet of technology options available to Internet users in South Africa.

"From broadband wireless supplied by Sentech to ADSL and ISDN from Telkom, to a range of creatively packaged technology options from a variety of ISPs, it's like 1994 all over again", says Goldstuck.

"Once again, the challenge will be an educational one for the existing market, and affordability for those who are still not connected."

Nevo Hadas, VP of marketing for survey support partners Systemsfusion, warns that this poses a huge challenge to ISPs. "They have to make their offerings not only simple to use, but also simple to understand", he says.

"The Internet user wants a fast, reliable connection, rather than a technically brilliant way for it reach the computer. The industry has to be technically brilliant in such a way that the user doesn't even know about it."

Internet Dial-up Usage

The size of the dial-up market passed the one-million mark for the first time in 2002, largely due to the marketing campaigns of Telkom and Absa's Internet services, while the subscriber base of traditional ISPs fell for the first time.

ISPs tended to be more focused on serving existing customers than on chasing growth in users, and this in turn resulted in the most profitable year yet for the access industry, despite the slowdown in user growth.

The leased line market for corporate access remained healthy, largely thanks to companies focusing on the reliability of their networks and putting more backup systems in place. As a result, the number of lines grew faster than expected, but growth in users with access to such lines was slower than expected.

Further reading on Internet in Africa:

Research ICT Africa Reports
Research ICT Africa! seeks to fulfil a strategic gap in the development of a sustainable information society and knowledge economy on the African continent by building information communication technology (ICT) policy and regulatory research capacity in Africa needed to inform effective governance.

High Mobile Sales Could Help Internet Growth in Africa

South African Government Information
South African government and related information.

South Africa 2010 World Cup
South African Soccer 2010 FIFA championship information.

South Africa Briefing from the Economist.

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South Africa Profiles:

South Africa Profile from BBC News

South Africa Profile from the World Bank

Figures and updates on South Africa Broadband usage appear below.

South Africa Broadband and Internet Market Report
Despite being open to competition by more than 200 Internet Service Providers (ISPs), South Africa’s Internet sector has been stagnant in recent years due to an expensive operating environment created by Telkom SA’s dominance in the fixed-line and bandwidth market. Modest growth has now returned to the market, stimulated by the launch of Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line (ADSL) and wireless broadband services in 2004, followed by continuous price cuts in the following years. Further stimulus is expected from the launch of the second national operator (SNO) and an expansion of 3G/HSDPA services by the country’s mobile network operators. This report provides an overview of South Africa’s Internet and broadband markets, supplemented by profiles of the main players and key sector statistics.

South Africa - Convergence, VoIP, NGN and Digital Media Report
With its relatively well developed and diverse infrastructure, South Africa is taking a regional lead role in the convergence of telecommunication and information technologies, promising the long-awaited reduction in telecommunication costs and better availability of information and services. Sweeping liberalisation measures taken in 2005, legalising - among other things - the use of VoIP, have begun to change the country’s telecoms landscape fundamentally. Internet Service Providers (ISPs) are turning into phone companies, and vice versa. Both are moving into delivering audio and video content over their networks, while in turn the traditional electronic media carriers are discovering the potential of their infrastructure for telecommunications service delivery.

South Africa - Fixed Line Market and Infrastructure Overview and Statistics Report
Although its period of exclusivity ended in 2002, Telkom SA remained the sole provider of fixed-line telecommunications services in South Africa until early 2007 when the second national operator (SNO) became operational after finally receiving its licence at the end of 2005. Under Telkom’s monopoly rule, fixed-line teledensity has continuously fallen since 2000. SNO shareholders Eskom and Transtel already have significant alternative nationwide infrastructure in place, as does Sentech, which is licensed to provide multimedia services and to operate an international telecommunications gateway. Some of the largest municipalities in the country are also rolling out their own telecommunications infrastructure. Wireless technologies are being pursued to provide alternatives to Telkom’s copper access network.

South Africa - Telecom Market and Regulatory Overview
South Africa’s telecom sector boasts the continent’s most advanced networks in terms of technology deployed and services provided. The newly licensed second national operator (SNO) will finally launch services in competition to Telkom SA in early 2007. Sweeping liberalisation measures taken two years earlier, legalising - among other things - the use of VoIP, are beginning to change the country’s telecoms landscape fundamentally. The long awaited new Electronic Communications Act (formerly Convergence Bill) was finally enacted in mid 2006. The end of Telkom's monopoly on the SAT-3 submarine cable in 2007 is expected to help reduce the costs of telecommunication in South Africa which are currently among the highest in the world.

South Africa - Mobile Market, Overview and Statistics Report
South Africa has a vibrant mobile market that has seen rapid uptake of GSM since competition was introduced to the sector more than 10 years ago. With market penetration exceeding 70% and number portability introduced in 2006, the three network operators are increasingly forced to find innovative ways of distinguishing themselves from the competition in order to gain and retain customers. The introduction of mobile Internet and multimedia services via 3G mobile technology is one way of doing this and has lead to a marked increase in data traffic. Another is the adoption of the Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) model, highlighted by the entry of Virgin Mobile into the market.

See Global Telecoms - Telecommunications Key Market Statistics Report
Despite economic and financial upheavals the telecoms industry is moving ahead at a fast pace. As a matter of fact the telecom industry is one of the least affected by this turmoil, and in many ways it will be a catalyst for transformation.


August 25, 2004 - Johannesburg - The Internet Society of SA (ISOC-ZA) has aligned itself with the Online Publishers' Association's (OPA) call for an urgent meeting with government to discuss the high cost of bandwidth in the country. ISOC-ZA also believes that reducing the cost of bandwidth is imperative in order to stimulate the growth of Internet usage.

In a statement, the organisation claims that government should become actively involved in making this a reality, as the true cost of bandwidth is clear from the dramatic slow-down in growth of Internet users in SA.

In its statement, ISOC-ZA quotes a report by World Wide Worx, an independent research company, which shows that growth slowed down to 6% in 2003.

For 2004, World Wide Worx forecasts an increase from 3.28 million Internet users at the end of 2003 to around 3.52 million users.

This means that at the current rate of growth, there will only be one in ten people in SA that will have Internet access by 2006.

ISOC-ZA says that even the introduction of broadband Internet access by both Telkom and Sentech has failed to reduce prices, with broadband remaining excessively high priced and out of the reach of average citizens.

Pointing out that the cheapest broadband access from Telkom costs approximately R1.75/Kbps while Sentech's MyWireless is R2.93/Kbps, the organisation claims that this is 286% and 480% more expensive than a comparable offering from an Egyptian ISP.

"It is the view of ISOC-ZA that broadband can have a significant impact on growing the number of Internet users in the country and it can certainly help to bridge the digital divide," says the statement.

"Therefore we support the OPA's criticism of the bandwidth situation and join them in calling for an indaba with government, the regulator, the Internet Service Providers Association and other related parties to find ways of reducing bandwidth and broadband costs in SA."


Visit the The Africa Reports Page. More figures and updates become available all the time.

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