A new report from Research ICT Africa shows that only 53% of South Africans use the Internet.
This is compared to 73% in Columbia and 86% in Argentina.
The report, with the title “Lagging ICT adoption in SA”, added that South Africa is still ahead of other African countries, though.
South Africa’s mobile phone penetration rate was much higher, added the report, coming in at 85%.
The graph below shows the Internet usage rate, mobile phone penetration rate, and gross national income (GNI) of the countries compared against South Africa.
“Although South Africa’s mobile phone and Internet penetration are high compared to other African and Asian developing countries, it does not perform as well when compared with countries in Latin America with similar incomes,” stated the report.
With only half the population online, the “potential of the Internet to drive social and economic inclusion in a developing economy is not met”.
Expanding on the above, the report stated that South Africans interviewed about factors limiting their use of the Internet stated it was “too expensive”.
While South Africans who earn above R7,168 per month were found to be connected to the Internet, those who earned below this threshold were unlikely to be online.
This was particularly true in the R0-R1,583 per month bracket – which contributed heavily to the “not connected” portion of the population.
The report made several recommendations on what could be done to increase the number of South Africans who use the Internet, which included:
- Review all excise duties on feature and entry-level smartphones.
- Review entire USF and the premium secondary taxes placed on operators which contribute to high cost of services.
- Enable the public and private extension of free public Wi-Fi to towns and rural areas as proposed by SA Connect.