Richard Boorman, Vodacom group executive head of corporate communications, told News24: “We think that social media will continue to grow in popularity and be a major driver of mobile usage in 2013.
“More than half of all South Africans first experience the internet via a smartphone, and certainly amongst the younger generation it's to log in to things like Facebook and Twitter.”
Despite the smartphone boom, Vodacom’s research for 2012 revealed that other low cost devices, including feature phones, continue to show great success in sales.
Boorman revealed the operator’s focus is on lowering handset costs, improving network access countrywide and progressive roll out of Long Term Evolution (LTE) services.
“The big picture theme for us will be broadening access to connectivity both geographically and across all socio-economic groups,” Boorman said.
Meanwhile, competitor MTN also set its goals around increased data use, based on the general primary smartphone employment for internet access.
Lambotharan Kanagaratnam, chief technology officer at MTN South Africa, said: “Data growth has happened on multiple fronts.”
He continued to list the major contributors as “the increase in smartphone penetration, the improvement in the speed of MTN's data network due to the significant rollout in 3G/HSPA+ and fibre over the last 24 months, the increase in consumption of video and higher speed applications and services, a general adoption of mobile data and internet as a 'must have' service”.
Boorman believes shareability will increase due to higher connection speed and price decrease.
“This kind of activity will no doubt support continued strong growth in data usage,” he concluded.