Johannesburg - The number of South Africans using the internet has
significantly risen because of the impact of smartphones and mobile
phones, a new study has shown.
Internet usage in South Africa grew 25% in the
past year, according to the study by research company World Wide Worx
and the howzit MSN online portal.
The 6.8 million South Africans using the internet at the end of 2010 jumped to 8.5m by the end of last year.
The number was projected to increase to more than 10m people by the end of 2012.
"Penetration is now approaching 20%, and for the
first time we can see the mass market embracing digital tools on their
phones," said World Wide Worx managing director Arthur Goldstuck.
The study showed that 7.9m South Africans accessed the
internet via their cellphones, and that 2.48m did not have access to
About six million people received the internet through
computers, laptops, and tablet computers. Most (90%) also used
"This has huge implications for media and social networks," said Justin Zehmke, executive producer of howzit MSN.
"It means that, in the coming years, all services offered online will also have to be offered on cellphones."
With smartphones being the salient driver of internet
usage growth, data costs were also being driven down by the increasing
number of undersea cables connecting sub-Saharan Africa to the rest of
The study showed that undersea cable capacity to South
Africa at the end of 2011 was 2.69 Terabits a second (Tbps), and would
rise to 11.9 Tbps by the end of 2012.
"That capacity will double again in 2013," said Goldstuck.
This should result in falling data prices, which would in turn further increase demand, Zehmke said.