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Analysys Mason research shows importance of data to African mobile users

New research from Analysys Mason shows that 44% of respondents in Sub-Saharan Africa would switch providers to attain better data speeds.

Stephen Sale, Research Director at Analysys Mason, noted that customers planning to make a change to their mobile plan cited higher data speeds as the main factor behind their decision.

30% of respondents stated that they intended to make a change to their mobile plan in the next six months, with 44% of these saying that they were looking for improved data speeds – particularly in Ghana, Nigeria and Kenya. The number two and three factors were improved network coverage (cited by 33% of respondents planning to make a change) and larger data allowances (32%).

Overage policies negatively affect customer satisfaction of postpaid customers in South Africa.

In South Africa, 51% of postpaid users with handset bundles regularly exceed their data allowances and report lower satisfaction scores, probably due to the pay-as-you-use overage policies common in South Africa. Only around 20% of respondents stated that they use data within the limits of their allowances.

Operators have little control over handset distribution in much of the region. Consumers in SSA often choose non-operator channels for their handset purchases and pay in cash. In Ghana and Nigeria, operator channels accounted for as little as 16% of all handset sales.

WhatsApp was the most popular OTT service in each country and was used by 86% of respondents overall. 42% of respondents said that they use apps for free voice calling. The high rates of VoIP usage should be of particular concern to operators as smartphone penetration increases.

Sub-Saharan Africa is a mobile-first region for ecommerce. 43% of survey respondents made online purchases at least once a month. Mobile handsets are the primary means of access, with 74% of respondents making purchases through their mobile phone, far above any other device category. Access to a mobile money wallet is a strong predictor of mobile commerce engagement. In Kenya, 80% of Safaricom’s customers made regular purchases from their mobile devices.