Internet use in SA growing

2012-05-10 22:35

Johannesburg - The number of South Africans using the internet has significantly risen because of the impact of smartphones and mobile phones, a new study has shown.

Internet usage in South Africa grew 25% in the past year, according to the study by research company World Wide Worx and the howzit MSN online portal.

The 6.8 million South Africans using the internet at the end of 2010 jumped to 8.5 million by the end of last year.

The number was projected to increase to more than 10m people by the end of 2012.

"Penetration is now approaching 20%, and for the first time we can see the mass market embracing digital tools on their phones," said World Wide Worx managing director Arthur Goldstuck.

The study showed that 7.9 million South Africans accessed the internet via their cellphones, and that 2.48 million did not have access to computers.

About six million people received the internet through computers, laptops, and tablet computers. Most (90%) also used their cellphones.

"This has huge implications for media and social networks," said Justin Zehmke, executive producer of howzit MSN.

"It means that, in the coming years, all services offered online will also have to be offered on cellphones."

With smartphones being the salient driver of internet usage growth, data costs were also being driven down by the increasing number of undersea cables connecting sub-Saharan Africa to the rest of the world.

The study showed that undersea cable capacity to South Africa at the end of 2011 was 2.69 Terabits a second (Tbps), and would rise to 11.9 Tbps by the end of 2012.

"That capacity will double again in 2013," said Goldstuck.

This should result in falling data prices, which would in turn further increase demand, Zehmke said.

  • songezo.kilani - 2012-05-10 23:35

    I can tell by the number of morons who twickle their thumbs here on the news24 website.

      frans.martins - 2012-05-11 06:54

      You are also twickling your thumbs... ;)

  • johns54 - 2012-05-11 06:42

    While the rest of the world uses computers to access the internet because it is cheaper and more efficiant! South Africans have to use even more expensive phones!

      Deon - 2012-05-11 08:11

      I beg to differ. People from the rest of the world use their phones much, much more often than they use computers to access the internet. People are constantly on the move and desktops are fixed, while laptops are a pain to carry around. And today's phones are nothing other than miniature computers, aren't they? A stat to chew on: One single average modern-day mobile phone has more processing power than the roomfuls of computers that were needed to send man to the moon.

  • frans.martins - 2012-05-11 06:52

    The prices customers in ZA pay for the speeds they are getting, shocking to say the least!!! Not to mention the shaping and capping!!!

  • npretorius2 - 2012-05-11 07:44

    People in South Africa are under the misconception that our internet is slow and expensive due to corruption, maladministration etc etc... But the fact is it has more to do with our Geographic location than anything else. It is extremely expensive laying cables to connect us with the backbones of internet that mostly connects LA-NY-PARIS-BEIJING-TOKYO.

      Tarriq - 2012-05-11 09:42

      SEACOM fibre optic cable... Google it

  • tobydt - 2012-05-11 09:56

    "Internet usage in South Africa grew 25% in the past year" That means the trolls also grew by 25%!

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