SA's Internet usage surges

Johannesburg, 10 May 2011
Read time 2min 30sec

The use of Internet in SA is rising mainly due to the mobile uptake, according to Stats SA.

About 26.8% of South African households have at least one member who has access to the Internet either at home, work, school or Internet cafes.

The Stats SA's 2010 General Household Survey was carried on households across the country between July and September 2010. It sampled 33 022 dwellings, while 25 635 households were analysed.

Internet usage was the highest in the Western Cape at 44.1%, Gauteng at 40.9% and the Free State at 27.5%. Limpopo and the Eastern Cape had the lowest at nine and 14.3% respectively, the report says.

The findings are in cohesion with the Mobility 2011 research project conducted by World Wide Worx in partnership with FNB earlier this year.\

The study revealed that 39% of urban South Africans and 27% of rural users are now browsing the Internet on their mobile phones.

It excluded 'deep rural' users, and represents around 20 million South Africans aged 16 and above. This means at least six million South Africans now have Internet access on their phones.

According to a 2011 report by Infographic, SA is ranked fifth in world for mobile data usage. 30% of mobile users in SA are active on Facebook via their phones; 50% of SA's Facebook users access the social network via mobile.

It defines SA's three tiers of mobile Internet access locally as: three million have full Web access, 11 million through apps such as Mxit and e-mail, and 13 million through WAP.

Stats SA says most South Africans use the Internet at work (16.7%), at home (10.1%) and at school at 5.5%.

“Access to the Internet in the home is highest among households in the Western Cape (18.7%) and Gauteng (17.1%). It is lowest in the Eastern Cape (3.8%) and Limpopo (3.1%),” the report states.

The report also revealed that Limpopo province has the highest number of households with access to cellphones. “Limpopo had the highest use of cellphones in households at 85.8%.”

The provinces with the highest percentages of households using only mobile phones (as opposed to landlines) in their dwellings were Limpopo followed by Mpumalanga at 85.2%, North West at 78% and the Free State at 76%, it notes.

The report also says the Western Cape had the highest number of both cell and landline phones at 34.3%, while at the same time the province had the lowest rate of household use of cellphones at 51.1%.

However, when coming to the use of landlines, the province had the highest number at 3.1%.

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