Telecommunications infrastructure in South Africa provides modern and efficient service to urban areas, including cellular and internet services. In 1997, Telkom, the South African telecommunications parastatal, was partly privatised and entered into a strategic equity partnership with a consortium of two companies, including SBC, a U.S. telecommunications company. In exchange for exclusivity to provide certain services for 5 years, Telkom assumed an obligation to facilitate network modernisation and expansion into the unserved areas.
A Second Network Operator was to be licensed to compete with Telkom across its spectrum of services in 2002, although this license was only officially handed over in late 2005 and has recently begun operating under the name, Neotel. Five cellular companies provide service to over 30 million subscribers, with South Africa considered to have the 4th most advanced mobile telecommunications network worldwide. The five cellular providers are Vodacom, MTN, Cell C, Virgin Mobile and Telkom, which is run by Telkom.
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