Blackberry still regarded a status symbol in Africa


The use of BlackBerry phones in Africa is expected to rise to 16 per cent from 6 per cent penetration for current and previous users.

This is according to the Mobile Africa 2015 study, which was conducted by mobile surveying company GeoPoll and World Wide Worx.

“BlackBerry introduced most of Africa to the idea of a smartphone, and for the first few years was the flagship brand for the category,” said Matt Angus-Hammond, business development lead for GeoPoll in Southern Africa.


“They initially hit the market through companies who got contracts for their executives, but as new models were introduced the old Blackberries have entered the mass market, and are still regarded as a status symbol in much of Africa.”

The study further showed that the hand-me-down effect suggests BlackBerry will retain its position as the third most popular phone brand in major African markets for now.

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However, brands that will challenge both BlackBerry and Nokia in the near future include Apple, Huawei, Sony and LG.

Mobile Africa 2015 surveyed mobile phone users in five of Africa’s major markets, namely South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana and Uganda.

It confirmed the widely held view that Nokia remains the single biggest phone brand in the major African markets however, its market share is plummeting fast.

While almost half of respondents – 46 per cent – reported owning a Nokia as their previous phone, only 34 per cent own one now. And only half of those intend buying a Nokia next.

According to the study, the big winner is Samsung, which is currently owned by 17 per cent of respondents. When asked what phone would be bought next, the Samsung proportion shot up to 26 per cent.

Another significant finding was that Internet browsing via phones now stands at 40 per cent, with 51 per cent of respondents in Ghana and 47 per cent in Nigeria reporting that they use their phones to access the internet.

South Africa lags behind at 40 per cent, and Kenya at 34 per cent and Uganda at 29 per cent are slowest on the uptake.

South Africa, however, leads in app downloads, usually an indication of higher smartphone adoption, with 34 per cent of phone users making downloads from app stores.

This compares to 31 per cent in Ghana, 28 per cent in Nigeria, 19 per cent in Kenya and 18 per cent in Uganda.

World Wide Worx MD, Arthur Goldstuck said, “This finding also indicates that mobile broadband infrastructure is more robust in South Africa, despite anecdotal reports of the Internet being used more actively in Nigeria and Kenya.”

“Internet use is far greater in some of these countries in terms of number of people, but substantially lower in terms of intensity of use,” he added.

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Goldstuck further stated that Africa will always hold surprises in technology uptake, and continues to underline the reality that every country on the continent is different, and each will reflect different market dynamics.