The widespread adoption of smartphones is widely reported to have increased the demand for data services on mobile networks.
With the popularity of BlackBerry in South Africa, which offers subscribers unmetered non-streaming data when accessing the Internet from a BlackBerry device, one expects that data usage on MTN, Vodacom, and Cell C would show an upward trend.
Just how much data are South African smartphone users burning through every month?
“We’ve witnessed a healthy increase, with the average data usage on smartphone devices having almost doubled in the last year,” said Vodacom spokesperson Nomsa Thusi.
However, the average data usage on smartphones is still low when compared to dedicated data devices such as tablets and data cards, Thusi said.
MTN’s chief marketing officer, Serame Taukobong said that the growth in data usage over the past six months for the top 10 smartphones on their network was about 70 percent, while SMS usage grew about 8 percent.
The average data usage for all smartphones on MTN is about 60MB with around 80 percent of the top smartphones using about 150MB per month, Taukobong said.
According to Taukobong, users of Apple’s devices consume between 250MB to 300MB per month, Nokia Symbian devices use between 150MB and 250MB, and depending on model, BlackBerry and Android devices use between 150MB and 300MB per month.
Vodacom said they’re seeing average data usage of around 42MB of data per user per month, with Apple iPhone devices leading the smartphone pack at around 112MB of data/user/month.
Both Vodacom and MTN assured that their networks are handling well the increased demands for data.
Taukobong emphasised the R18 billion MTN is reported to have invested in their network over the past few years “ensuring that its network will cope for data devices and smartphones alike.”
Thusi said that Vodacom is constantly making efforts to ensure that their network copes with high traffic demands. “Even during events like the World Cup, our network coped extremely well despite the surge in traffic. I can confidently say that we are currently not at risk,” Thusi said.
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