Vodacom Business, which is confident of more growth opportunities for machine-to-machine (M2M), said on Monday M2M customers rose 17.5% to 1.9 million in South Africa. By Gugu Lourie
M2M services are also referred to as the Internet of Things (IoT) – a concept of connecting devices to the internet ranging from refrigerators, geysers and smart electricity meters to coffee makers – in such a way that they communicate without the need of human intervention.
Vodacom Business Africa, which operates in various African countries, is confident of more growth opportunities for M2M in Africa.
Vuyani Jarana, CEO of Vodacom Business, recently told TechFinancials.co.za that Vodacom Business Africa was adopting a demand-led pan-African expansion strategy. It was implementing services such as M2M and cloud, where the demands arise.
Tablets on the rise
Vodacom also announced on Monday that tablets on its South African network rose 126.2% to 1.4 million following the success of the Vodacom branded 3G Smart Tab.
Vodacom and MTN are bringing own-branded devices, such as tablets and smartphones, into South Africa as part of their ambitious plans to accelerate Internet uptake. This is a big gamble for the two mobile giants as they make their entry into the highly-competitive market for branded devices.
Internet is meant to improve the lives of people and facilitate access to economic opportunities and social welfare. A number of South Africans cannot access the Internet nor afford premium tablets, such as Ipad’s, Samsung’s, Lenovo, etc. that are in a north of R4 000.
Mobile operators have realised that growth in voice telephony is dwindling and they are making a plan to migrate customers to data usage. They are hoping that by developing their own low-cost branded devices they will drive subscriber growth and diversify revenue generation.
In short, mobile giants are attempting to utilise low-cost devices to fuel growth in the Internet space and uptake of smart devices. But they still need to drop the prices from $50 to a range of $25-$20 to make it more attractive to customers.
The market for smart devices is big and promises to generate billions for mobile operators and manufactures.