A heavy move into digital migration has been made as cellphone subscriptions increased by 822 per cent from 2010 to 2013.
Mobile phone users increased from 8.3 million in 2000 to 76.8 million in 2013. Consequently, in the same period, the number of fixed-line telephone connections fell by 22%.
Lerato Moloi, head researcher and analyst at IRR said, “The economic benefits relate to the cheaper and more effective access to goods and services, and South Africa’s position as a leading tech industry in Africa.”
This has led to greater economic freedom and flexibility as more people have access to banking through mobile phones, she said
Meinke Steytler, head of public affairs at IRR, said service providers have inevitably expanded with this digital migration. “Although the broadband speed in South Africa is slow, and costs [for internet access] are expensive, the pros are outweighing the cons,” she said speaking to the need for greater internet access.
The report highlighted the political and social benefits of the cellular communication revolution saying that as more people own cellphones there is a greater exposure to mainstream media.
Moloi reinforced that, “social media accessed via cellphones would help to ensure that South Africans could freely access and circulate information and ideas despite the best efforts of the State to limit this.”
According to the report, daily newspaper circulation has dropped by 37 per cent between 2008 and 2014. This has been leveraged by online access to media.