South African cellular users are spending a declining percentage of their cellphone budgets on voice calls and a growing proportion of their cellular spend on data.
“This surge in data usage is behind the data depletion that has generated recent media coverage,” explains Casper de Villiers, WASPA chairperson. “‘Data leakage’ doesn’t exist. It is a technical impossibility. If you consume something, it will be depleted. That’s basic economics.”
South Africa’s Wireless Application Service Providers’ Association (WASPA) says local mobile consumers are still adjusting to the reality of the new global data economy.
“South Africans are abandoning voice-based communication in droves. We predict that less than half of total mobile spend will be on voice calls by the end of this year,” says De Villiers.
“Consumers are learning how to budget for data usage and will soon realise that data is not ‘disappearing’ from their cellphone accounts.”
The fact that data’s share of cellphone spend is increasing is welcome news for the country’s economy, he adds.
WASPA has previously highlighted the positive relationship between economic growth and cellular usage that increasingly comprises more data-intensive app interaction. The worldwide GSM Association found that every doubling of mobile data use adds a solid 0,5 percentage points to gross domestic product (GDP).
WASPA advises cellphone users to download their mobile network’s usage app, opt to receive SMS data usage updates and download special data-saving apps to remain on top of data usage. It also suggest trying out different operating systems and Internet browsers to determine which work best for the user’s data needs.