Deloitte forecasts a big year for mobile in SA

 ·23 Feb 2013
South Africa mobile

Financial services company, Deloitte has released its predictions for the South African telecoms sector in 2013 highlighting a slowdown in new mobile connections, but a big boost in data usage.

According to Deloitte, 2013 holds big things for mobile in South Africa, as smartphone adoption is likely to increase, and with it, data consumption is set to boom.

However, with a mobile penetration rate of 128%, Deloitte expects a possible slowdown in terms of new mobile connection additions during 2013 compared to previous years.

In December 2012, the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), indicated that South Africa is the fifteenth largest telecommunications market in the world in terms of revenues from the telecommunications services.

Based on an analysis of the financial reports of Vodacom, MTN and Telkom and certain key press releases by Cell C, Deloitte Digital has identified key performance indicators (As of September 2012) for the South African telecommunications industry:

South African population 51.8 million
Total mobile connections (active sim cards) 66.1 million
Total unique subscribers (people) 40.7 million
Mobile penetration (active connections to population) 128%
Estimated active smartphones in South Africa 11 million
Estimated mobile data penetration (data mobile connections) 39%
Weighted blended Average Revenue Per User per month (ARPU) R119
Prepaid subscriber base 83%
Post-paid (contract) subscriber base 17%

Based off of this snapshot of the South African market, Deloitte has made the following predictions for the South African telecoms sector in 2013:

  • The price war seen in 2012 will continue into 2013 with mobile operators jockeying for mobile subscribers across segments and product lines;
  • The further decrease in mobile termination rates (MTR’s) during 2013, will result in a decrease in ARPU levels during 2013;
  • Smartphone growth will continue with strong growth seen from mobile device vendors supporting the Android operating system with Blackberry maintaining its market share leadership in South Africa;
  • LTE network rollout will continue across the mobile operators, though Spectrum allocation will continue to be a challenge for mobile operators;
  • There will be competitive segmented data plans for subscribers with high end smartphone devices which will, ipso facto, consume more data;
  • Mobile money services between platforms and digital communities will continue to open up;
  • Mobile data browsing and usage will continue to increase with social networking portals driving the traffic usage.

Business impact

  • As smartphone and tablet penetration continues to go amongst employees, more local organisations will start deploying enterprise based mobile applications to create greater understanding of the organisation;
  • Local organisations will start to tap into high data usage on South African mobile data networks from social networks by deploying enterprise social networks (ESN’s).

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