What We’re Up To In South Africa
1 April 2021

What We’re Up To In South Africa

1 April 2021

As a global connectivity service provider, Africa is a key focus for Telecom26 and we use our MVNO network to provide connectivity - including IoT connectivity - across the continent with customers and partners in almost every country.

A quick pub quiz question: How many countries are there in Africa?

All in all 54. 48 countries share the area of mainland Africa, plus six island nations.

We have previously looked at how our IoT connectivity service cards are helping with the rollout of digital healthcare programmes in Nigeria, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Ghana, Malawi and Tanzania.

This week we take a look at South Africa, another country in Africa where Telecom26 has a strong presence and is providing IoT connectivity to Healthcare programmes being rolled out by Big Pharma customers, Healthcare diagnostic partners and NGOs, including SystemOne.

About South Africa

The country’s Wikipedia entry starts thus: The southernmost country in Africa. With over 59 million people, it is the world's 23rd-most populous nation and covers an area of 1,221,037 square kilometres (471,445 square miles).

It is bounded to the south by the South Atlantic and Indian Oceans; to the north by NamibiaBotswana, and Zimbabwe; and to the east and northeast by Mozambique and Eswatini (former Swaziland); and it surrounds Lesotho.

According to The World Bank, “COVID-19 is having a major impact on South Africa’s economy which is estimated to have contracted by 7% in 2020, as the pandemic weighed heavily on both external demand and domestic activity as the government implemented containment measures… Unemployment reached an unprecedented 32.5% in Q4 2020 and is highest among 15 - 24 year olds, at around 63%.

South Africa remains a dual economy with one of the highest, persistent inequality rates in the world perpetuated by a legacy of exclusion and the nature of economic growth, which is not pro-poor and does not generate sufficient jobs”.

The Telecom Market in South Africa

Better news in the telco sector…According to the analysts at BuddeComm, “South Africa’s telecom sector boasts one of the most advanced infrastructures on the continent…following… considerable investment…aimed at improving network capabilities.  The focus in recent years has been on backhaul capacity and on fibre and LTE networks to extend and improve internet service connectivity”.

There are three mobile network operators in South Africa which account for about 90 percent of the overall market: Vodacom, MTN, and Cell C. Vodacom. You can check out the coverage of each on this useful interactive map:  https://www.nperf.com/en/map/ZA/-/5591.Vodacom/signal/?ll=-43.89789239125797&lg=-54.88769531250001&zoom=3

South Africa and COVID

As at March 24 2021, South Africa has recorded 1.5m cases of coronavirus with 52,251 deaths.

Of course, the country has been waging much longer battles against more lethal infectious diseases.  Several of Telecom26’s customers have rolled out TB, HIV, Ebola - and now COVID-19 - testing programmes across South Africa.

Key to the success of the testing programmes is reliable connectivity; speed of diagnosis and treatment is often the difference between life and death.

The traditional route is to buy local SIMs to provide device connectivity. Unfortunately, this limits users to one MNO - and adds juggling multiple SIMs across devices to find the strongest local network to a long list of headaches, especially in country border areas.

Telecom26’s IoT global SIM cards and our IoT connectivity solutions were developed with the specific goal of improving connectivity in remote areas where coverage can be patchy. Our IoT global SIM cards enable devices to automatically access and switch between multiple networks both in-country and across borders thus removing the need to worry about the coverage of a single MNO, or the existence of roaming alliances. Multiple-IMSI profiles are pre-loaded on every SIM allowing for simple remote reconfiguration if the primary network has poor or no service. 

If you have any questions about telecoms in South Africa, or need help with connectivity - including IoT Connectivity -  there, or in any other country in Africa or around the world then please Get In Touch.

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