Telecommunication is one of the keys to sustainable national development in South Africa. Where other kinds of public infrastructure have collapsed, mobile operators are reaching people in rural areas (without roads, rails, or a stable power supply). Telecommunication also is a fast moving high-tech field where technology transfers occur regularly. Technology transfer however is a complex subject where governmental regulations, social and cultural aspects, needs, expectations, aspirations, financial abilities, and technological capabilities play a major role. Therefore transfer models that neglect these aspects often cause ineffective utilization of technology. Telecommunication technology transfers between two parties at different hierarchical levels of technology know-how/utilization (as between multi-national companies and less developed countries (LDCs)/South Africa) often occur with limited or no advantages to the LDC. A transfer model is therefore needed to improve the situation and make technology transfers a process from which both parties can benefit simultaneously. This research attempts to supply advice and guidelines to the telecommunication industry of South Africa on how to improve the situation and conduct action in the future. The model was derived at through a background study and analysis, a literature study on existing transfer models, research on the current problem and a situation analysis on the basis of the model. A number of aspects present are not up to standard and should get special attention urgently. It is within the industry's power to correct these. The government also has a vital role to play to ensure sustainable growth and to allow telecommunications to play its part in national development. The situation can be improved through the use of the transfer model but also with a "simultaneous-situation-improvement-plan" which involves rural awareness, quality of education, crime reduction and a focus alignment when doing rural network expansion and/or investments Telecommunication can no longer remain just as a luxury to the few privileged in big civilised cities and a dream to the rural citizens. If this way of thinking is continued, South Africa will certainly pay a very high price.
Thesis (MEng (Technology Management))--University of Pretoria, 2003.
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