South Africa is seeing a massive boom in the number of internet users with the latest study from World Wide Worx showing the users passing the 20 million mark for the first time. This is in line with government’s ‘Internet for All’ initiative which aims to connect 22 million South Africans to the internet by 2020. What this means is a major boom in internet accessibility for 2018 and generally improved internet connectivity overall. Here are some interesting internet access trends businesses should look out for in 2018.
1. The power of the cellphone
As it stands, a third of adult internet users rely on cellphones as their primary means of internet access which means reliance on exorbitant data costs. Going into 2018, the ‘data must fall’ movement will continue although it’s likely the reliance on cellphone internet will continue to surge in South Africa until the infrastructure is in place, bringing affordable internet access to the home. This means businesses should continue to look at mobile marketing efforts going forward.
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2. Bridging the digital divide
South Africa is lacking in infrastructure across the spectrum resulting in a digital divide that further pushes the inequalities promoted during apartheid segregation. The major metropolitan areas have internet penetration levels of 67.7% while the smaller cities and towns are at 32.3% penetration. Outside of the urban areas, the levels will be even lower – explaining the reliance on cellphones. The government is looking to extend Information and Communication Technologies infrastructure so 2018 should see more internet connectivity in previously overlooked areas. Because of the large population of youth, internet penetration is critical in the economy – and this hasn’t gone unnoticed.
3. Fibre optic dominance
Although fibre has existed in South Africa for at least seven years, the last year has seen a huge boost in this sector with fibre infrastructure being rolled out, primarily in metropolitan areas, making it far more easily accessible. This is only set to increase going into 2018 which means that internet will become faster and more reliable. Businesses will be looking to conduct more transactions, host more meetings and generally increase all interactions online because of this accessibility. The growing number of fibre optics operators also means that prices will be kept down.
4. Enhanced security measures
This increased online usage does, however, open business up to more risk of cyber attack which is why there will be enhanced online security measures as internet access increases. Innovations such as the ‘world’s most hack-proof’ smartphones, companies established solely for online risk management and security privacy software will increase in 2018. Unfortunately, predictions are that privacy laws and regulations aren’t keeping up with cyber crime so businesses need to be as cautious as possible with all private information.
Overall, there is going to be a significant boost in internet access and overall reliability, prompting a move towards the digital space. This brings endless opportunities for business’s looking to be creative and taking some bold risks, it’s just important to maintain as much privacy security as possible.
ECN is a leading telecommunications and business fibre partner in South Africa. ECN offers a broad set of cost effective voice, data and hosted services to meet our customers ever growing technological needs. Our market leading Fibre for business provides our customers with the option of replacing their existing voice service provider to substantially reduce their monthly telecommunications bill. Contact ECN today for leading telecommunications solutions.