A new report on mobile Internet use in Africa shows South Africa has mobile penetration of 133%, measured by active Sim cards. That’s much higher than that of Kenya and Nigeria, which are at 70% and 72% respectively.
The study was conducted by On Device Research, a mobile research company, with a representative sample of mobile Internet users in each country. The study was also done in the UK to compare the effects of the mobile Internet in developing and developed markets.
“For many Africans, mobile is the only way to connect with the world and the Internet is having a huge impact on people’s lives. It’s helping them save time and money and it gives them access to education and medical information,” says Alistair Hill, CEO of On Device Research.
The report presents findings from research with 2 000 mobile Internet users in Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa and the UK. A key aspect of the study was to compare the effects of mobile Internet between developing and developed markets.
The study was also done in the UK to compare the effects of the mobile Internet in developing and developed markets. Compared to 63% of Africans who stated “great improvement” to their lives thanks to access to the mobile Internet, only 41% of the Brits claimed the same.
“In comparison, Brits stated that only maps or navigation apps, and entertainment services have really improved their lives. The story is clear – mobile internet is a step change in Africa but just an incremental improvement in the UK (or any developed market) as most Brits have alternative ways to access the Internet,” says Hill.
A key finding of the study is that nearly half of mobile Internet users mainly go online using their phone. The mobile phone has also become the largest media channel in Africa with 79% of survey respondents across South Africa, Kenya and Nigeria indicating that they use their mobile phone daily to consumer media. This is in comparison to 63% of respondents who says they watch broadcast television every day.
Mobile banking is also incredibly popular among African phone users, but is far more popular in Kenya and Nigeria than South Africa. In South Africa, 63% of respondents says they use their phone for mobile banking and payment services compared with Kenya’s 82% and Nigeria’s 75