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Mobile Phones Are Becoming More Available in South Africa



 
Mobile phones have been available in South Africa since 1994 but the penetration rate has seen a big surge in the last five years. For instance, according to Statista, in 2016, mobile internet user penetration in the country was at 28.91%, while in 2021, it rose to 60.71%. What is more, it is projected to reach 67.48% by 2026. What do these numbers mean for South Africa and its residents? Read on for more details

The current situation regarding mobile phone penetratio

With 60.71% of the South African population having access to the internet via mobile phones, this means that there are over 36.45 million smartphone users in this country. However, statistics from Worldometer and Statista from 2019 show that there were 101.9 million subscribers despite the fact that the population was 58.56 million. Why is that so? 
Well, people opt for a few networks in order to get the best deals and save some money. For instance, one operator might be offering better connectivity in certain areas while another might offer more data. As a matter of fact, more than 40% of South Africans say that they also use multiple SIM cards.

On the other hand, it’s important to note that mobile access percentage regards the number of individuals that have regular access to mobile devices, even if they don’t actually own one. A Pew Research Center study concluded that 8% of South African adults do not have a personal phone and that they share a phone with someone else. Furthermore, it also found that 5% of South African adults don’t own or share a phone at all. According to these statistics, then, mobile access penetration as of 2018 was 95%.


Mobile phone access and usage barriers

As different statistics and reports show different data, we should also look into what the barriers might be to owning a mobile phone. For example, from the 5% of South Africans that don’t own or share a phone, 65% stated that they would like to get one in the future. Some of their worries included fear of theft, the cost of the device, a lack of literacy for use, and the probability of it being too complicated to use.

What is more, even those that do own a phone expressed worries about the financial aspect of having one and the connectivity issues. As costs of data in South Africa are notoriously high, many owners avoid using their phones altogether. Additionally, 25% of the respondents reported occasional connectivity issues.

The rise in internet usage

However, no matter the number of mobile device users in South Africa, it’s safe to say that the global pandemic contributed to the rise in internet usage across the globe. As South Africa was also hit with COVID-19 and put into lockdown, people had no other option than to turn to the internet in order to stay in touch with loved ones and do their job if it could be performed remotely. Moreover, having access to the internet could keep them up to date with the latest news and coronavirus measures.

A rise in gaming is noted

With so many measures in place in order to contain the spread of the coronavirus, many entertainment venues were also closed. As even sports events were on an extended break, people needed something that can help them pass the time while stuck indoors. It should not come as a surprise then that mobile gaming skyrocketed during the pandemic. Although many video games that can be played on consoles also saw a rise in demand, mobile games experienced a real boom as titles like Genshin Impact, Call of Duty: Mobile, and Raid: Shadow Legends don’t require too much gear to play.

The rise in online casinos

While South Africa does have several land-based casinos, the online approach has been getting more popular even before COVID-19 hit. However, mobile phone penetration helped online casinos see an incredible surge in the country. Moreover, operators are always doing their best to provide players not only with great service but also with great benefits and deals such as the South African online casino no deposit bonus, for example. This deal means that users don’t have to put any money into their account before playing, which is attracting a significant number of individuals that have never tried gambling before.

The demand for e-wallets and mobile payments

Finally, there is also a big rise in the use of digital payments and new payment technologies. For starters, due to hygiene concerns, contactless cards and e-wallets are becoming more and more popular. According to a MasterCard study, 63% of South Africans say that they use contactless cards while 52% use their smartphone as a payment method. Moreover, QR codes and biometric payments are also more convenient and trustworthy. Lastly, even cryptocurrency is gaining ground as 4 in 10 South Africans plan to use it in the next year.
 
As mobile phones are becoming more widely used in South Africa, various other sectors are also seeing a boost. From gaming and online casinos to e-wallets, we can only expect their popularity to keep going up.

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