by Ryan Smit
A recent BMI-T report entitled SA Consumer Handset Model and Cellular Activities, reveals that the number of unique cellular users is expected to increase from approximately 35 million this year to just less than 42 million by 2013. Consumers are predominantly using prepaid payment mechanisms,
especially amongst lower income users, and this is unlikely to change significantly in the near future.
Looking at Figure 1, we can see that our forecasts for data technologies show a future where many consumers will have access to high-speed mobile data on their handsets. It is expected that in terms of consumer’s primary handsets (i.e. excluding multiple handsets) 19 million handsets will have 3G, while 12 million will have Wi-Fi and 7 million will have GPS.
.Source: BMI-T’s SA Consumer Handset Model and Cellular Activities.
Users have indicated that their most important characteristics for choosing a handset are long battery life, user-friendliness, camera capabilities and a large screen size; these characteristics however differ strongly among different market segments with younger consumers valuing instant messaging highly whilst middle-aged consumers value e-mail functionality more.
We also noted that handset trends such as media-orientated handsets, navigation handsets, and touch screen interfaces indicate that consumers are demanding higher functionality from their handsets, with convergence becoming more and more prevalent. New operating systems such as iPhone OS and the Android platform have opened up many possibilities, especially when viewed in combination with their application stores which offer the user the ability to buy and install applications directly from the handset.
More recently adopted activities such as mobile internet browsing and mobile e-mail access are likely to increase more rapidly, with BMI-T forecasting that there will be over 15 million users who access the internet directly or indirectly by 2013.
Mobile instant messaging is also likely to increase the significant growth it has experienced recently with users demanding the functionality and affordability that it offers. Concurrently it is also expected that mobile social networking is likely to experience strong growth as PC-based social networks improve their mobile access, and mobile-based offerings provide social networking functionality to those users without PC access.
For more information: visit www.bmi-t.co.za