Besides the usual tech releases – such as the new iPhone and Samsung Galaxy smartphones – there are a number of significant developments expected in the South African tech and telecoms sectors.
The launch of servers from major cloud services like Microsoft Azure and cheap uncapped fibre for township residents are two of the expected highlights.
A completed investigation into high mobile data prices is also on the cards this year.
Listed below are tech events you can expect to take place in 2018.
Microsoft Azure servers
Microsoft will launch Azure servers in Johannesburg and Cape Town during 2018.
Speculation in the industry suggests that Teraco and Liquid Telecom will provide the facilities for Microsoft to host its servers, but neither company could comment on the rumours.
It is also believed that the launch of Azure in South Africa heralds the arrival of other major cloud providers on the African continent.
Teraco announced at the end of 2017 that AWS Direct Connect was available through its JB1 and CT1 data centres.
Vumatel FTTH in Alexandra at R89 per month
Vumatel plans to offer uncapped 100Mbps fibre services in South Africa’s townships for R89 per month.
It aims to launch its trial in Alexandra before March 2018, providing 60,000 homes in the area with fibre access.
If its Alexandra trial is successful, Vumatel will expand to Diepkloof and other townships that already touch its network across South Africa.
It expects to pass 2.5 million homes in two years, offering low-cost uncapped FTTH connectivity to over 10 million South Africans.
Completion of inquiry into high data price
The Competition Commission announced an investigation into high data prices in South Africa, which it is scheduled to complete by 31 August 2018.
It said that the outcome of the market inquiry will be to make recommendations to:
- Government on how the market could be made more competitive and inclusive, and how data prices can be brought down to secure South Africa’s position as a low-data-cost economy.
- ICASA on the competitive impact of the regulatory framework, and any need for amendments.
Openserve ending sales of Diginet
Openserve will no longer sell Diginet services after 1 January 2018, and orders placed before then will only be for one-year term contracts.
Existing longer term contracts will be migrated to alternatives before 1 December 2019.
Live gigabit network demos
Qualcomm announced that the first devices based on its Snapdragon 845 platform will be launched in 2018.
The chipset supports technologies that enable gigabit speeds on networks with only 10MHz of LTE spectrum, which means we could see live demos of gigabit speeds from Vodacom and MTN using flagship smartphones released in 2018.
Tesla Model 3
Tesla opened pre-orders for the Model 3 at $1,000 each, and began production in August.
Despite production delays, the car is expected to launch in India, Brazil, South Korea, Singapore, New Zealand and Ireland.
It is also expected to start shipping to South Africa during 2018.
The Winter Olympics
Besides the sporting competition, there are also technological advancements to look forward to at the Pyeongchang Olympics in 2018.
South Korea is hosting the Winter Games and will be looking to showcase what it has to offer on every front, including technology.
Demonstrations of technology which could be classified as 5G in 2019 or 2020 are expected at the event.
Reports also suggest that Samsung has been working on a massive 11K display to show off at the games.