SA mobile data market to grow significantly

21 September 2005 News

The mobile data market in South Africa is on the cusp of significant growth, thanks to the falling prices of high-speed cellular connectivity and the increasing penetration of 3G- and GPRS-enabled phones into the market. This is according to Mark Taylor, managing director of cellular service provider, Nashua Mobile.

He says that cellular technologies such as GPRS and 3G have the potential to help companies to improve customer service and generate more revenues by liberating their people from their desks and allowing them to spend more time in the field.

"South Africa's mobile and wireless market is a vibrant and exciting one where the first effects of true competition are beginning to be felt. Already, MTN and Vodacom have launched 3G services and have cut the prices for data services dramatically," says Taylor. "They are also putting a lot of muscle behind the marketing of these services to drive adoption, which should translate into healthy growth. Economies of scale are likely to build up quickly, with the result that prices should fall dramatically in the years ahead."

Taylor points to recent research from BMI-TechKnowledge that projects that around 4,4 million subscribers will be using 3G services by 2009, which is around five times as many people as are expected to be using broadband services such as ADSL and iBurst by the same year.

Phones that are ready for EDGE, GPRS and 3G are now available as standard upgrades for contract users and prices of high-speed mobile data services are falling rapidly. Taylor warns, however, that the ever-increasing number of cellular devices and services on the market, makes it difficult for consumers to pick the right options for their lifestyles. One trend that has the potential to cause consumer confusion is the merging of myriad technologies and functions into a single device. So-called 'converged devices' such as camera phones have already made strong in-roads into South Africa's market for cellular handsets.

Already, devices have emerged that contain advanced features such as support for 3G networks, GPS, MPEG-4 encoders/decoders, video telephony and streaming, WiFi support (Internet access at hotspots and other wireless network venues), music players and push-to-talk applications.

Converged devices often make trade-offs between functionality and practicality, with the result that many devices offer poor processing performance and battery life in a bulky form factor, says Taylor. The quality of these devices is improving rapidly, but for many users a less functional phone with better battery life and more talk-time may be more appropriate than one with an MP3 player and video telephony.

The range of wireless and mobile connectivity options is likely to become even more daunting once operators begin to compete more aggressively as a result of the advent of number portability, WiFi reaches critical mass, and new standards such as WiMax are launched as commercial services.

Share this article:
Share via emailShare via LinkedInPrint this page

Further reading:

From the editor’s desk: Are electromagnetic waves culpable in making us sick?
30 June 2020, Technews Publishing , News
When I started writing my column for this issue, I was determined to come up with a topic and a way to avoid mentioning the ‘C’ word. I came close – you will only find ‘COVID-19’ mentioned once or twice ...

To fake or not to fake
30 June 2020 , News
Prof. Johan Meyer explores the complex and controversial topic of the potential link between the global rollout of 5G networks and the COVID-19 pandemic.

Clearing the Static: Curb the spread of COVID-19 with stringent floor hygiene
30 June 2020, Actum Electronics , News
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), COVID-19 is primarily transmitted from person to person through respiratory droplets that emerge from the nose and mouth when an infected person speaks, ...

Personality profile: Warren Mande
30 June 2020, Altron Arrow , News
“It is said that “culture eats strategy for breakfast”. Look to join companies whose culture fits your personal belief system.”

Not the end, but a journey
30 June 2020, ExecuKit , News
ExecuKit’s Renita Fleischer and Elizna Classen offer local companies a route to help them navigate their way through what has become the ‘new normal.’

Elmatica CEO to vice chair IPC cybersecurity task group
30 June 2020, Elmatica , News
Didrik Bech, CEO of printed circuit broker Elmatica, has been appointed to serve as vice chair for IPC’s new cybersecurity task group. The 2-12c Task Group leadership is a representation of IPC as an ...

From the editor’s desk: Making and sending things to space
29 May 2020, Technews Publishing , News
In this issue, one of the topics we are featuring is the aerospace and military/defence sector. The feature includes an analysis of what it takes to successfully design and manufacture products in this ...

Electronics news digest
29 May 2020, Technews Publishing , News
South Africa • Acting minister of communications and digital technologies, Jackson Mthembu, joined the world in observing World Telecommunication and Information Society Day (WTISD). Proclaimed by the ...

Personality profile: David Power
29 May 2020, Cadshop , News
“Aspire to work for a company that you admire, and for a boss that you want to serve, that shares your passion and motivation.”

Designing for military and defence applications
29 May 2020, Omnigo, Kreon Technology , News
No business can stand on its own without strong partnerships and stakeholder relationships. In this regard the military and defence industry is no exception.