Building the networks of the future

As consumer needs and requirements evolve and as interest in emerging technologies grows, what are telcos doing to provide the backbone?

12 April 2023

Schalk Visser, Cell C

South Africans are spending more time online than ever before. In fact, over the last decade, internet traffic in South Africa has grown by around 500 000%. This leap can largely be attributed to changes in the type of content users consume, notably the significant increase in high definition video streaming. And with the rise in future technologies promising to transform everything from entertainment and training to workplaces and healthcare by making it possible for people to connect in new and different ways, the amount of capacity that network operators need to provide is only set to climb.

But this doesn’t necessarily mean that local telcos need to rush out and build super-fast, advanced networks right away, says Spiwe Chireka, a telecoms industry expert. “We must remember that relevant supply drives demand,” she says. According to Chireka, the market in Africa is always driven by the three As: availability, accessibility and affordability. All three must co-exist in order for anything to really take off and, at present, when it comes to many of the sexy emerging technologies that are making news headlines, they don’t.

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