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We are anticipating a global data tsunami


The staggering increase in the demand for data by smartphone users is offering carriers an opportunity to explore new business models, writes Tim Bishop, Director at Deloitte Digital.

The Deloitte Global Mobile Consumer Survey reports that an estimated one billion smartphones were sold during 2013, up from 750 million the previous year. The survey also estimates that by the end of last year more than two billion smartphones, 300 million tablets and one billion portable PC’s would be in use globally.

On average, consumers in developed markets have access to between four and eight devices mostly through device sharing. This as the sales of traditional handsets, digital cameras, music players and feature phones are on the decline.

We are deep into a global mobile revolution

We are witnessing a mobile revolution: hurtling forward with a momentum and on a scale never seen before.

The Deloitte survey is based on a 20 country online survey of 38,650 mobile phone users around the world. It finds that ownership of internet-connected devices increased in all countries surveyed in 2012 and 2013.

Not only this, but smartphones top the list of portable devices consumers most want to purchase – followed by laptops, digital cameras and e-readers, respectively.

Indeed, as the report predicts: ‘2013 may be the year in which revenue from smartphones and tablets exceeds that from the remainder of the consumer electronics market.’

Continued growth in the base of users and number of connected devices per user means traffic volumes are expanding rapidly. So much so that data traffic could soon reach a point where demand outstrips supply.

In South Africa, it’s data tsunami time too!

In South Africa, access to internet through mobile is one of the fastest growing sub-trends in the sector even though prohibitive data costs mean consumers aren’t making as much use of data facilities on their smartphones as they might. The driving force of mobile data use (59% of phone owners) is still social activity on networks such as Facebook and Twitter which benefit from a 40% overall usage penetration of the entire SA population.

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If you have any questions, contact Tim Bishop (Director at Deloitte Digital) at tibishop@deloitte.co.za and Arun Babu at arbabu@deloitte.co.za

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David Graham

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