BlackBerry alive and kicking in SA

BlackBerry devices are by far the most popular smartphones in the South African market, and according to industry experts this trend is likely to continue

Vodacom recently revealed that BlackBerry dominates the smartphone market in SA with 1,992,779 active devices on their network, dwarfing both Android (296,978) and Apple iOS (291,616).

BlackBerry has been hemorrhaging market share internationally, resulting in Research in Motion’s share price plummeting and the resignation of co-CEOs Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie.

The same fate does not await BlackBerry in South Africa, according to industry experts from MTN, 8ta and BMI-T.

Mike Fairon, GM for product innovation and development at MTN SA, said that he believes that MTN will continue to see a good growth in Blackberry.

“Blackberry devices are still on the increase in the emerging markets and it might take some time for South Africa to follow international trends,” said Fairon. “However, there has been a healthy demand on Android devices and MTN anticipates that this growth will be more prevalent as the year progresses.”

Ryan Smit
Ryan Smit

BMI-T analyst Ryan Smit said that while he thought that the smartphone trend would be similar to that internationally, their latest Digital Lifestyle Survey shows that BlackBerry will not lose market share in the short term in SA.

“According to the survey Blackberry has a market share of 22%, which makes it second only to Nokia who have 46% currently,” said Smit.

“What is even more interesting is that when asked which handset consumers would like as their next handset, 45% said they would like a Blackberry, compared to only 10% that said Apple.”

“If RIM/Blackberry is able to take advantage of this mind-share, then they will not be losing out on market share anytime soon,” Smit concluded.

8ta concurred with Fairon and Smit, saying that it is their belief that BlackBerry shall continue its popularity in the market in 2012.

“Looking at the fact that BlackBerry 7 Operating System (OS) has been well received, one hopes that with the launch of BlackBerry OS 10, it shall continue to endure its success locally,” 8ta said.

Vodacom said that the BlackBerry proposition is currently very popular, but future demand will depend on how well new devices and services are received by the market.

Cell C believes that BlackBerry will continue to grow in 2012 in South Africa. “We expect that the growth will slow down during the latter part of the year and expect the demand of alternative products driven by the Android OS to increase,” Cell C said.

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BlackBerry alive and kicking in SA