The telecommunications industry has changed dramatically over the past 20 years, with smartphones and Internet access making it possible to contact people and businesses from anywhere.
This raises the question: Are telephone books still relevant, considering we can find almost anything online?
Speaking on Radio 702, Telkom spokesperson Jacqui O’Sullivan said there is still a place for printed telephone directories in South Africa, due to its demographics.
She said many people would rather use a telephone directory to look up the contact details of a person or business, as opposed to using their mobile data to search.
There is also not enough Internet and mobile data penetration across the country to serve all citizens, which means telephone books are still valuable in many communities.
There is, however, a decline in the production of telephone books.
Trudon, which is owned by Telkom, has cut the production of telephone directories from 500,000 to 450,000 over the last year.
O’Sullivan said there will come a point for mobile data penetration where people will feel comfortable to exclusively use the Internet to find contact information.