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Mobile data usage is exploding in Africa, and one of the key drivers of that is streaming video. Unfortunately, disposable income isn’t growing at the same rate, making social media storms like#DataMustFall almost inevitable. Fortunately, there are ways to reduce data usage while still watching TV shows and movies over the internet.

Number of smartphones in Africa. Source: GSMA


Mobile data usage is exploding in Africa, which is hardly surprising given the skyrocketing number of smartphones. According to the GSMA Mobile Economy Africa 2016 report, at the end of 2015 around 225 million smartphones were in use across the continent. That’s set to increase by almost another 500 million by 2020.

What’s that doing to data consumption? Monthly usage per subscriber is set to increase from 0.3 GB in 2015 to 4.3 GB in 2020. That’s an increase of 12x in just five years.

Monthly mobile data usage per subscriber, Africa & Middle East. Source: GSMA

A major driver of that increase is video traffic. Cisco predicts that internet video traffic across both mobile and fixed connections will account for 79% of global internet traffic by 2020. In the Africa and Middle East region, 169 billion minutes (around 320 000 years) of video traffic will cross the internet each month.

So what’s Plan B if #DataMustFall doesn’t quite pan out?

Here are some top tips on how to manage your ShowMax data usage to squeeze more hours of viewing out of every GB:

  1.      This is cheating, but skip mobile entirely. If you’re in a free Wi-Fi hotspot or your techie mate has an uncapped connection, just get connected with your smartphone or tablet, fire up the ShowMax app and start downloading shows to watch later. You can download up to 25 shows at any one time, which is enough to satisfy even the biggest binge session.

  2.     Sticking with downloads, how about using up that nighttime data? You’ll need to set your alarm, but if you’re quick picking what to download you’ll be back to sweet dreams in no time.

  3.     Change the size of those downloads – ShowMax has four file sizes to choose from. Depending which you pick, a 20-minute episode of something like The Big Bang Theory could use anything from around 75 MB to more than 300 MB.

  4.     Use bandwidth capping. Almost all ShowMax apps have the option to set a cap on how much data is used. The higher the setting, the higher the video quality. Do the kids really need to watch those cartoons in super crisp hi-def? The low setting limits data usage to 300 MB per hour, the medium setting to 700 MB per hour. Leaving ShowMax uncapped can use up to 1.4 GB per hour depending what device you’re on and how fast your internet connection is.

ShowMax bandwidth calculator
  1.     Buy the right size data bundle. A bigger bundle means lower priced data, but nobody wants to go so big that they lose unused data at the end of the month. How do you know how much data you’ll need? Simple – use the ShowMax bandwidth calculator.

For a risk-free seven-day trial, visit www.showmax.com. If you cancel within the first seven days, we won’t bill you. Simple.


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