Daily News

Data usage doubles as SA locks down and plugs in

- GIVEN MAJOLA given.majola@inl.co.za

MOBILE phone network operators in South Africa say data usage almost doubled during the Covid-19 lockdowns.

Vodacom, South Africa’s largest network operator, said its customer numbers had steadily grown since the country was placed under lockdown in March last year.

In the quarter to the end of December, Vodacom had slightly more than 44 million customers in South Africa.

“Our customer numbers in South Africa have steadily grown over the past few years. Vodacom has also more recently seen a shift in consumer spend and data consumptio­n compared to previous years,” Vodacom said.

“Remote working has increased data consumptio­n, with students/ learners using data to study and many people working from home. This has increased data traffic by 43.2 percent as at the quarter ended December 31, 2020.”

According to Vodacom’s trading update for the quarter to the end of December last year, Vodacom South Africa had 22.5 million data customers, which was slightly more than half of its total customer base.

Jacqui O’sullivan, MTN South Africa’s executive for corporate affairs, said MTN South Africa had 32 million active subscriber­s by the end of last year. Of those, 15.7 million were active data subscriber­s and 6.4 million were active rich media digital subscripti­ons.

“MTN SA’S total data traffic has almost doubled in the past year. With the lockdown, many consumers are spending much more time on their devices for remote learning and workfrom-home requiremen­ts, as well as shopping or surfing the internet for various reasons. By using the temporary spectrum, we have been able to significan­tly increase the number of South Africans using data through our partnershi­p with the government and public benefit organisati­ons,” said O’sullivan.

Cell C said its largest revenue base was its prepaid customers.

“The company’s strategy of focusing on more profitable customers is bearing fruit, as the average revenue per prepaid customer has increased by 28 percent on a year-on-year basis, despite a decline in its prepaid subscriber base by 15 percent to 9.2 million customers … The largest contributi­on to revenue has been data usage.”

Telkom said its data subscripti­on numbers would be reported when it released its results on May 24.

Ignition Telecoms chief executive Valde Ferradaz said internet data was the world’s most valuable commodity, and the government had a responsibi­lity to release spectrum in a manner that guaranteed entry for new market players, lower costs and equitable distributi­on.

Ferradaz said that without “fairly and responsibl­y” opening the country’s spectrum to new competitio­n, mobile virtual network operators and investment, the capacity would be wasted.

“Valuable spectrum will be wasted if the same monopolies are allowed to generate bigger wealth instead of diversifyi­ng and allowing for spectrum to be more broadly used. This is the natural evolution by which the government can grow the economy, as they have no choice beyond recognisin­g data plays an invaluable role in that process.”

 ?? COURTNEY AFRICA ?? THE GOVERNMENT has a responsibi­lity to release spectrum in a manner that guarantees entry for new market players, lower costs and equitable distributi­on, says Ignition Telecoms chief executive Valde Ferradaz. | African News Agency (ANA)
COURTNEY AFRICA THE GOVERNMENT has a responsibi­lity to release spectrum in a manner that guarantees entry for new market players, lower costs and equitable distributi­on, says Ignition Telecoms chief executive Valde Ferradaz. | African News Agency (ANA)

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa