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The rise of mobile in South Africa
Mobile technology has been growing and developing around the world since the 1980s. However, in the last 10 years, the availability of smartphones, data infrastructure and mobile technology has skyrocketed in popularity to the point that smartphones are found in now nearly every corner of the world. Many people now believe that access to the internet and smart devices are human rights, just as having access to water and electricity are.
South Africa is no exception to the growing move towards mobile and digital technology, and has seen an explosion in the use of mobile technology. Market researchers have predicted that in 2023, over 26.3 million people in South Africa will be using smartphones, up from roughly 9.7 million people in 2014. In 2020, about 20-22 million people in South Africa used a smartphone, so the prediction that smartphone use will grow to 26.3 million within the next few years is startling but perhaps not inaccurate.
The South African mobile sector at a glance
Mobile use in South Africa is, as stated above, currently at roughly 20-22 million users. This accounts for roughly one-third of the country’s overall population. It’s quite a surprising statistic, particularly when you consider that in 2015, only 9.7 million South African citizens were using mobile technology.
At present, Samsung is the most popular mobile device supplier in the country. Over 40% of the mobile devices that are currently being used in South Africa are Samsung phones or devices. Behind Samsung, Huawei and Apple are tied, each at about 15% of market share.
The largest and most popular telecommunications companies in South Africa are currently Vodacom, MTN and Cell C, which together operate a whopping 90% of the telecommunications industry in the country. Vodacom manages the lion share of telecommunications infrastructure at roughly 40%, whereas MTN runs about 30% of the country’s telecommunications and Cell C operates almost 17%.
Online gambling on the rise
As the use of mobile technology increases around the world, other mobile technologies and platforms are also growing in popularity. One sector that has seen particularly exponential growth is that of online casinos and mobile gambling apps. Over the course of the last five years, online gambling has exploded in popularity and the interest in online casinos shows no signs of stopping.
Online casinos have grown in popularity, partly because the COVID-19 pandemic has forced many brick-and-mortar casinos to close their doors over the course of the past year. There has also been a global loosening in gambling restrictions and laws, which has resulted in more people than ever having the opportunity to decide whether or not they would like to try online gambling. Finally, the rise of mobile technology in general has allowed many more people than ever before to have access to the internet and online casino apps.
There are now so many online casinos that it can be overwhelming to try to find the best online casino for your own personal preferences. PlayCasino.co.za lists all of the top online casinos in South Africa and provides gamblers with all of the important information they need before deciding to register with a specific online casino.
The future of mobile
Even with the setbacks brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, it appears that the future of mobile will continue to be bright. Good quality mobile technology continues to become cheaper and more accessible to greater numbers of people around the world.
Also, while 5G is just starting to be rolled out in certain countries such as South Korea, it means that governments are continuing to invest in increased mobile infrastructure, which will help to boost mobile speeds, security and connectivity. As the South African government continues to invest in mobile and digital infrastructure, the country’s use of mobile will also continue to expand.
The investment in tech innovation and infrastructure in South Africa has steadily continued, even throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Big tech firms are investing in their African bases, including in South Africa, and tech investors are continuing to seek out innovators and entrepreneurs in the country.
The continued wave of investment in tech, coupled with wider adoption of mobile use and increased telecommunications infrastructure will likely help to usher in a new era of digital adoption, bigger than ever seen before. As South Africa continues to develop and mature as a tech hub for the continent of Africa, more advancements and benchmarks are likely to be made, met and exceeded.