In March 2020, a National State of Disaster was declared in South Africa due to COVID-19, and as a result, the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa temporarily assigned additional spectrum to the leading communication companies to help them to improve their network efficiency. However, as demand continued to increase, the regulator announced plans to auction six additional frequencies – 700 MHz, 800 MHz, 2,600 MHz and 3,500 MHz – in March 2021.
The Department of Communications and Digital Technologies has called for the expansion of the TV licence to cover such devices as computers and tablets. The move came as a growing number of households shifted to streaming services during the COVID-19 lockdown.
Online fraud is a concern for many local consumers, as it has grown alongside increased demand for e-commerce. In response to this challenge, a growing number of banks are following the example of Standard Bank and launching virtual cards.
In December 2020, mobile communications network Telkom launched Telkom Pay, a mobile payment system that is accessible through WhatsApp. This service is available to all South African mobile phone users – regardless of the network they use – and enables consumers to make person-to-person transfers and bill payments.
In November 2020, Pick’n’Pay, one of the leading grocery retail chains in South Africa, partnered with MTN to launch a mobile service called PnP Mobile. The service is linked to the company’s reward system: For every ZAR10 they spend in store, consumers can earn 5MB in mobile data up to a limit of 2.
Mobile devices remain the dominant method of accessing the internet for South African consumers, and mobile connectivity is expected to continue to grow at a faster rate than overall internet connectivity overall over the course of the forecast period. Growth in mobile internet use will be supported by the increased use of smartphones for daily tasks, in addition to the proliferation of cheap smartphones, as manufacturers increasingly target lower-income consumers.
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