16 trends and predictions around South African internet usage

By 2019, there will be 27-million South African Internet users, up from 15-million in 2014. That’s according to the latest Cisco Visual Networking Index (VNI) Forecasts 2015, which also suggests that South African IP traffic will grow six-fold by 2019, a compound annual growth rate of 44%.

Factors expected to drive this traffic growth, it says, include an increase in internet users, personal devices and machine-to-machine (M2M) connections, faster broadband speeds, and the adoption of advanced video services.

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The report also suggests that mobile video traffic will grow at 73% a year in the country.

Here are some of the other trends outlined in the report:

  1. Internet traffic will grow 6.3-fold from 2014 to 2019
  2. There will be 189.8 million networked devices in 2019, up from 112.2 million in 2014
  3. 59% of all networked devices will be mobile-connected in 2019
  4. M2M modules will account for 22% (42.0 million) of all networked devices in 2019, compared to 13% (14.4 million) in 2014.
  5. Tablets will account for 11% (21.2 million) of all networked devices in 2019, compared to five percent (5.1 million) in 2014.
  6. Smartphones will account for 30% (57.5 million) of all networked devices in 2019, compared to 22% (25.1 million) in 2014.
  7. Connected TVs will account for 6% (12.0 million) of all networked devices in 2019, compared to three percent (3.3 million) in 2014.
  8. Non-Smartphones will account for 14.3% (27.1 million) of all networked devices in 2019, compared to 44% (49.3 million) in 2014.
  9. TVs will account for 34% (1.4 million) of all flat panel TVs in 2019, compared to 0.8% (8 551) in 2014.

    The report also makes a number of predictions around South African internet traffic in the next few years. And while it does look like there will be promising internet user growth, it does appear that South Africa will still lag some way behind other countries when it comes to internet access:

    1. More Internet Users — In 2014, there were 15 million internet users, or 29% of the country’s population of 53 million. By 2019, there will be 27 million Internet users, or 50% of the South Africa’s projected population of 55 million.
    2. Proliferation of Devices and Connections — With 189.8 million networked devices in 2019 as compared with 112.2 million in 2014, South African service provider networks must adapt to an influx of sophisticated devices. These devices include tablets, smartphones, and Internet-enabled ultra-high definition (UHD) TVs, as well as M2M connections and wearables (including new smart watches, health monitors, etc.)
    3. Faster Fixed Broadband Speeds — In South Africa, the average fixed broadband speed will grow 2.7-fold from 3.5 Mbps in 2014 to 10 Mbps in 2019. Year-over-year, the average global fixed broadband speed grew 16% from 3.0 Mbps in 2013 to 3.5 Mbps 2014.
    4. New and Advanced Video Services — In South Africa, IP video will account for 78% of all IP traffic by 2019, up from 57% in 2014. The evolution of advanced video services (eg, UHD and spherical/360 video) and increasingly video centric M2M applications are anticipated to create new bandwidth and scalability requirements for service providers. Residential, business and mobile consumers continue to have strong demand for advanced video services across all network and device types, making quality, convenience, content/experience and price key success factors.
    5. Mobility Momentum — By 2019, South Africa’s mobile will constitute 21% of the IP traffic derived from cellular connections, and 62% of the IP traffic will come from Wi-Fi connections making differentiated and monetisable mobile strategies more important for all service providers.
    6. The Internet of Everything (IoE) and M2M Growth — The IoE trend is showing tangible growth as M2M connections will grow 2.9-fold (growing to 21-million by 2019). There will be significant IoE adoption across many business verticals (including agriculture, healthcare, manufacturing, retail, and transportation) as well as connected home deployments (ie, video security, smart meters, lighting/temperature control, etc.).
    7. Gaming Impact — Cisco predicts a marked increase in network traffic associated with game downloads in South Africa. This will be driven by availability of storage capacity on gaming consoles, an increase in upstream cloud traffic, and increasing fibre connections.
    8. Advanced Service Adoption — In South Africa, 43 billion minutes (81,826 years) of video content will cross the Internet each month in 2019. That’s 16,365 minutes of video streamed or downloaded every second. Business IP video traffic will be 68% of business IP traffic in 2019 and consumer IP video traffic will be 81% of consumer IP traffic in the same time period. Also, Internet video will be 71% of all business Internet traffic and in 2019.

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