As voice revenues start to stagnate, mobile operators are turning their focus to data to bolster their financial performance.
Vodacom’s latest financial results showed that its data traffic grew 62.2% in South Africa year on year, and now makes up 27.4% of service revenue.
The company now has 16.8 million active data customers on its network, mainly thanks to an increase in the number of smartphones and tablets on its network.
The number of active smartphones and tablets on Vodacom’s network grew 23.6% to 9.5 million devices.
People are also using more data. The average monthly data usage increased 41.1% to 358MB on smartphones.
More devices = more data use
The mobile operators are driving data adoption by increasing the number of data-capable devices on their networks. One of the best ways to achieve this is to launch low-cost smartphones and tablets.
MTN unveiled its own branded Android tablet – the MTN Steppa – in November 2014 to target the low-end market in South Africa.
This followed the launch of the Vodacom Smart Tab 3G 7-inch Android tablet at R999 in October 2014. The device is also available on a 24-month contract with 500MB of monthly data for R79 per month.
This raises the question as to how the mobile operators’ most affordable tablet deals stack up against each other.
|Low cost tablet deals|
|Operator||Device||Data included||Monthly cost (24-month contract)|
|Vodacom||Smart Tab 3G||500MB||R79|
|MTN||MTN Steppa tablet||500MB||R89|
|Telkom||Asus Fonepad 7||500MB||R99|
|Cell C||ZTE V7276 7″ tablet||500MB||R139|