Mobile phones were introduced to the South African telecommunications market in 1994. The market has been growing rapidly since then, and it keeps developing constantly.
The GSM network is available in 90 % of the national territory. There are five service providers: Cell C (www.cellc.co.za), Vodacom (www.vodacom.co.za), MTN South Africa (www.mtn.co.za), Virgin Mobile (www.virginmobile.co.za), and 8ta (pronounced Heita, www.8ta.mobi).
When purchasing a mobile phone, watch for interconnection fees. These fees are the biggest contributors to the cost of calls between companies. The South African government is trying to lower and even them out.
To compare mobile service, check their websites. Keep in mind that 8ta (Heita) only offers prepaid plans, while other mobile phone providers offer prepaid plans and contracts.
If you decide to get a contract, you will need to present your bank account data, a certified copy of a South African ID, proof of residential and/ or business address, and proof of income.
You can also purchase Pay As You Go SIM cards at major stores or supermarkets - they work for any mobile phone, and there is no need of signing contracts or provide documentation.