Why Millions of South Africans could Pay less for Better Connectivity

Wed, 19/01/2022 - 16:37

You could probably get more reliable, fast connectivity at a price you can afford. Of the 38 million South Africans who used the Internet as of January 2021, 36 million did so on mobile. Not all of them used mobile data (just the mobile device connected to Wi-Fi). But a lot of South Africans are using prepaid or contract data. It’s the most expensive way to connect in this country and among the most expensive worldwide.

If you live in one of South Africa’s bigger towns or cities there is a good chance that you have access to wired or wireless broadband. Many in smaller communities also have solid wireless broadband options that let them work, learn and stream in high definition.

Quality wireless solutions are often your only option in South Africa for a few of reasons. Infrastructure can be a little less than stellar in many places. And, with a lack of law enforcement linked to cutthroat commercial practices among broadband companies vying for market share, wired broadband picks up a lot of service interruptions. Plus, some people are desperate, and they turn to crime for income. Cable theft and vandalism costs South African companies R7 billion a year. All of these reasons combined are like load-shedding for the Internet and who needs that, right?

The banks don’t. They want reliable Internet for their ATMs, which is why many of them use wireless connectivity to make sure they’re always up, particularly in smaller towns and more out of the way places. Every card machine on a garage forecourt uses wireless connectivity. It’s solid and dependable where a business needs it most, the point of sale, because that’s money in the bank.

There’s a saying in South Africa’s less formal circles that runs along the lines of, “Money are few for a lot.” Many people are struggling to cope financially, many businesses are struggling to stay afloat, but there was a thin veneer of optimism running through 2021 that’s taking root this year. The determination of South Africans has never been more visceral and 2022 will be the year we prove it in spades.

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