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Nokia Still Dominating the South African Mobile Phone Market

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South Africa's mobile phone consumers are overwhelmingly loyal to their network providers, with 95 percent having been with their current provider for an average of 4.2 years. What's more, 81 percent said they recommend their network providers to friends and family, reinforcing the importance of word of mouth and reputation in the mobile industry.

These and other findings were released today as part of Nielsen's inaugural Mobile Insights syndicated study in South Africa, which examined consumers' usage of and attitudes towards mobile phones, networks and services.

While they may be inclined to remain loyal, a quarter of subscribers indicated that they could switch from pre-paid to contract packages within the next year. More than one quarter (27%) said they left their previous provider due to poor network quality. Subscribers across all four of the major networks were generally content with staying with them, although those using the Virgin Mobile MVNO were happiest.

"The mobile market continues to morph into an increasingly complex ecosystem of voice, text, video, Internet, games, applications and audio, and it is critical for industry players to have access to independent metrics to analyse and respond to the new, 'always connected' consumer," said Jan Hutton, Director Telecoms, Nielsen Southern Africa.

­Nokia is the handset brand of choice for more than half (52%) of respondents, followed by Samsung and Blackberry. Even those subscribers (56%) who currently use other brands said that a Nokia handset is likely to be their next purchase.

How are consumers using their phones?

Today's smartphones and feature phones offer users a range of functions. When asked about the mobile media services accessed from the devices, the majority (21%) said they download ringtones and almost an equal number (20%) download music tracks. The balance of subscribers said they download wallpapers, screensavers and pictures. A very small percentage stream online radio or watch video mobile TV.

Accessing the Internet from mobiles is also picking up steam, with 11 percent of respondents having done so. The highest mobile internet usage recorded among consumers aged 25-34 years old with 35-44 year olds coming in a close second. The youth group of 19-24 years of age, who are growing up with the internet, spend a number of hours online per week.

It is interesting to note 69 percent of men and women prefer sending SMS/texts as it is cheaper than calling and 10 percent firmly believe it is faster to text than call.

"These and the other findings present a comprehensive benchmark against which we can measure the changes occurring in the rapidly evolving telecom sector going forward. It's the only survey of its kind in the country that provides a 360 degree view of the sector in terms of what services consumers are using, how they feel about their network providers and handset manufacturers," added Hutton.

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Tags: nokia  samsung  blackberry  virgin mobile  mvno  feature phones  feature phones  virgin  virgin  South Africa