The South African market is seeing an increased need for broadband access, which is expected to be powered by mobile broadband solutions into the future.
Craig Lowe, execMobile founder, says this is evident from the DMMA and Effective Measure’s release of their South African Online Report for July 2013 which shows web traffic growth up by 62.5% from July 2012, but internet access from mobile devices up 167%!
“The increase in mobile broadband demand is precipitated by the increase in the number of devices in the market which can connect to the Internet from anywhere. Currently there are 12 million smartphones, two million tablets and 4.5 million laptops in South Africa, according to Strategy Worx. These devices are all Wi-Fi capable and consumers will often carry more than one of these devices with them,” he says.
While fixed-line data will always be the cheapest offering, Statistics South Africa released its general household survey for 2012 on 22 August 2013, revealing that less than 10% of South African households had access to the Internet at home.
Not surprisingly then that in South Africa, mobile broadband has become the dominant form of broadband access, unlike in Europe or America where ADSL broadband is primarily accessed via fixed line. It is also worth noting that in line with international trends, local mobile broadband adoption is been driven increasingly by the mobile workforce.
Traditional ADSL broadband provider Afrihost’s launch of their mobile broadband service indicates they have successfully noted and delivered solutions which address the markets need for remote connectivity.
The offer of mobility to Afrihost’s existing ADSL client base would certainly have driven rapid market adoption but Lowe contends that another success factor may well have been the mobile broadband wireless router supplied with the service.
The device creates personal secure Wi-Fi connectivity for multiple users or devices, with little setup or change to the users existing devices. Mobile workforce team members can all connect through a single device or a single user can connect up to (typically) 5 devices simultaneously.
This is particularly relevant when one considers that the average mobile broadband user in South Africa has 2.3 devices (phone, laptop, tablet etc.). This multi-SIM environment requires the individual or corporate to manage multiple data contracts or data bundles across multiple SIMs, creating cost management or convenience issues, says Lowe.
Most local mobile service providers are now offering broadband contracts with mobile wireless routers. Devices from ZTE, Huawei and Novatel are present in the local market, but it should be noted that these devices are specific to South African mobile operator’s settings and network frequencies and may not work elsewhere in the world.
execMobile’s PocketWifi offers mobile workers similar remote data connectivity when travelling abroad. Their device has been selected to allow data usage in 110 countries globally and more importantly is able to support the use of their SIM which utilizes multi-IMSI technology.
“Think of our SIM as having multiple identities, able to adapt to any of the 142 mobile network providers we have partnered with to deliver 3G connectivity wherever and whenever it is needed” he explains.
The solution offers savings of up to 95% when compared to per Megabyte data roaming rates or even more with unlimited daily data allowances.
“The mobile worker shouldn’t have to worry about affordable data connectivity when roaming with multiple devices. Nor do they need to buy multiple local SIMs and set them up in each device. Instead they can simply use our PocketWifi device, switch on and get online quickly, doing what they need to do up to 110 countries,” he says.