Tablets could spur mobile data boom
MOBILE| May 24, 2011, 3:27 p.m.
South African telecoms solutions firm Nashua Mobile says tablet computers are surging in popularity and could spark added demand for mobile data.
The company expects the rapidly growing tablet computer market to spark new demand for mobile data that will handsomely benefit South African cellular operators and service providers in the next few months.
That’ s the word from Tim Walter, executive head of marketing at Nashua Mobile. He notes that Gartner forecasts that annual global tablet shipments will jump from less than 18 million in 2010 to 294 million in 2015. Much of this growth is cannibalising worldwide sales of PCs and notebooks as end-users start to consume more of their media on the run from their tablet computers.
Says Walter: “ The runaway success of the iPad and the iPad 2 in the South African market indicates that there is a real hunger among local consumers and business users for tablet computers with cellular data connections. Apple’ s local distribution and retail partner sold hundreds of iPad 2 units within hours of the product hitting the shelves on April 29.
“ Unusually for a computer product launch in South Africa, people were queuing for the iPad 2 before stores even opened on that day. The most popular models of the iPad 2 were those with both 3G and Wi-Fi connectivity, which sold out in many stores within the space of a few hours. That’ s just a taste of the growth to come from the tablet market.”
Walter says that the tablet market can be expected to enjoy strong growth in the coming months, with new Android tablets from the likes of Motorola arriving in South Africa as well as the upcoming launch of the BlackBerry PlayBook.
“ Users have only a few tablet options to choose from right now – basically, it’ s the Apple iPad or Samsung’ s Android-based Galaxy Tab. But that picture is changing fast. With more choice from June onwards, more competition and more marketing, we can expect to see the tablet market really take off,” Walter says.
“ Since so many tablets ship with integrated 3G connectivity, this will be good news for mobile operators, opening up a whole new market for them to address.” Although initial shipments of the BlackBerry PlayBook and some of the other new devices may be Wi-Fi only models, tablets with 3G connectivity will eventually dominate the market, believes Walter.
Walter says that some of the growth will come at the expense of cellular data usage on smartphones and notebooks, but much of it will be new. End-users will begin to devour more cellular data as they use their tablets to browse the Web, send and receive emails, read magazines and books, play online games, watch video and use business applications.
Walter says that to capitalise on the growth of the tablet market, service providers and operators will need to put together affordable data bundles, possibly with subsidised hardware. Eventually, this market will add up to a substantial opportunity since tablet users will be consuming a lot of data to cater for their appetite for rich online media and applications, he concludes.
MORE MOBILE NEWS
Orange rolls out 3G network to 14 more areas of KenyaOrange has added 14 more urban centres to its 3G network as it moves to consolidate its data services business in the new financial year. Read More
Orange, title partner of the Africa Cup of Nations in Equatorial GuineaOrange is once again the title sponsor of the Orange Africa Cup of Nations, which kicks off in Equatorial Guinea this weekend. Read More
Kenya’s smartphone owners turn to insuranceKenyan smartphone owners are fast adopting specialized insurance to cover loss, theft or damage to their devices, reports Kenya Orient Insurance. Read More
Globacom win ‘changed my life’, says farmerGlobacom has presented N1 million each to lucky subscribers, including a 50-year-old farmer who just came out of detention for a minor traffic offence, and a musician in the ongoing N120 million Glo Overload promotion. Read More
Gabon’s vast campaign to register mobile users gets underwayGabon mobile operators Airtel, Moov, Azur and Libertis are currently involved in a vast campaign to register their subscribers to ensure that they comply with the law as set out by ARCEP, the country's regulator. Read More
MTN Ghana: no change in scratch card priceMTN Ghana says it has noted with concern the individual actions of some of its retailers to increase the prices of its scratch cards by various percentages. Read More
Tigo supports three young social entrepreneurs with laptopsTech needs Girls, IT4Teens and the Street Library Academy have each received five laptops from Tigo to enable them reach out to more children in deprived communities. Read More
Tigo reaffirms commitment to music industryMobile network operator Tigo Ghana says it will continue to support the development of arts and culture by promoting home-grown talent in the country. Read More
Orange Botswana joins fight against EbolaOrange Botswana is inviting the people of Botswana to help fight against Ebola epidemic in every way possible. Read More
255 new mobile stations for Senegal pilgrimageA total of 255 new mobile stations or BTS antennas have been made available in Senegal by SONATEL to cater for millions of Mouride believers who have gathered to the ‘holy city’ of Touba for their annual religious pilgrimage called ‘Magal de Touba’. Read More
FEATURED STORYUCC launches 2015 ACIA awards
Uganda has launched the fifth Annual Communications and Innovation Awards, which celebrate and foster ICT innovation and achievement.
BEST READ NEWS
IN DEPTHKenya’s digital TV battle hots up
Kenya’s journey to Digital TV broadcasting took a new turn this week, when the Communication Authority of Kenya (CAK) accused three local media firms of intent to disrupt the process.