Biggest South African tech stories of 2017

2017 has been a busy year in the South African technology space, with high-profile company acquisitions and big executive moves.

The political arena was also very active, with President Jacob Zuma changing communications ministers twice this year.

The South African broadband market continued to evolve, with Rain entering the space with fixed LTE-A products and Vumatel promising affordable uncapped fibre in townships.

The biggest South African technology stories over the past 12 months are summarised below.

Rain launched

Wireless Business Solutions and its LTE-A network were rebranded as Rain in June, promising to provide consumers with fast connectivity at affordable prices.

Rain SIM card

Rain Mobile

Rain Mobile will be available in South Africa as a beta trial before the end of 2017. Outsurance CEO Willem Roos will take up the position of CEO of Rain Mobile.

Rain Mobile

Liquid Telecom buys Neotel

In February, Liquid Telecom completed its acquisition of Neotel – which saw the company unveil its new brand.

Liquid Telecom

Neotel appoints new CEO

Liquid Telecom named Kyle Whitehill as CEO of Neotel in May 2017.

Kyle Whitehill

3 communications ministers

President Jacob Zuma announced a surprise cabinet reshuffle in October, which saw Mmamoloko Kubayi made the new minister of communications.


Vumatel’s ambitious plan

Vumatel plans to provide 10 million homes in South Africa with uncapped 100Mbps fibre for R89 per month.

Vuma Fibre

MTN South Africa’s new CEO

Godfrey Motsa became the new CEO of MTN SA. The announcement followed the news that former CEO Mteto Nyati was leaving the company to join Altron.

Godfrey Motsa

Isaac Mophatlane leaves BCX

In April, BCX CEO Isaac Mophatlane left the company – and was replaced by Ian Russell.

Isaac Mophatlane

Recapitalisation of Cell C

In August, Blue Label Telecoms informed shareholders the recapitalisation of Cell C was complete, making it a 45% shareholder.

Blue Label Telecoms Cell C

IS completes acquisition of MWEB

Internet Solutions concluded its acquisition of MWEB through parent company Dimension Data in May.

IS new logo light

iBurst Wireless shut down

Multisource shut down the iBurst Wireless service on 31 August, ending its 12-year journey.

RIP iBurst

Tech companies linked to Gupta corruption

Many large technology firms were implicated in questionable dealings with companies linked to the Gupta empire.


“Disappearing airtime” is real

MyBroadband tests revealed that a specific example of disappearing airtime was real in South Africa.

Full HD TV “lie” in South Africa

It says Full HD on the box, on the back of the TV, and the salesman confirms the display puts out 1080p. There’s just one problem: the panel is not Full HD.


Massive South African data leak

A leaked database containing the personal details of millions of South Africans was exposed online.

Laptop security hack

Cell C Black launched

Cell C launched an entertainment platform called Black, offering video, music, concert tickets, and sports betting.

Black by Cell C packaging

Now read: Short notice for new law to take back Vodacom and MTN spectrum

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Biggest South African tech stories of 2017