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SA's mobile internet habits exposedBy Johan Keyter 2 February 2011 | Categories: news
The Mobility 2011 research project, conducted by World Wide Worx and backed by First National Bank, today released research data showing that South Africans have been taking to the mobile web in a massive way.
The report revealed that 39% of urban South Africans and 27% of rural users are now accessing the internet through their mobile phones. The study represents around 20 million South Africans aged 16 and above and this means that at least six million South Africans now have the ability to access the online world though their mobile phones.
So what are the most popular mobile online destinations for South Africans? Well the results do mirror that of the PC world somewhat, in that social networking sites are the most popular. However where Facebook is king of the PC crop, MXit is king of the mobile phone masses.
The instant messaging site raked in 24% of cellphone users aged 16 and above (29% urban, 19% rural), keeping its king of the hill position for now. However, the unfaltering Facebook advance is making its way into the mobile realm as well, snatching up a massive 22% of users and even surpassing MXit in the urban over-16 market. Its close second place is likely to be translated into a first place within a couple of months.
The arrival of email to rural areas also saw a dramatic spike, with a 12% increase in penetration reported. The urban use of mobile email also went up, rising from 10% in 2009 to 27% at the end of 2010.
So while it's clear that everyone is enjoying the web on the move, what other features do mobile phone users deem important? According to the research, cameras, diaries and games continue to be popular, with FM radio and music players also seeing an upswing in popularity.
Some large differences between urban and rural users came to the forefront in how they use this technology though. As it turns out, three quarters of urban respondents (75%) use their phone cameras while only 55% of rural users do. Music players were preferred by 53% of urban users versus 36% or rural users, while mobile phone gaming was more popular in rural areas (64%) than in urban areas (54%).
Another report emanating from the Mobility 2011 research project states that 44% of urban cellphone users now utilise cellphone banking services, compared to 27% a year earlier.
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