ICT Access & Usage in South Africa

Alison Gillwald · Christoph Stork

Policy Brief 1: South Africa, 2008

While the South African ICT sector continues to show significant expansion especially with the improved growth in the economy over the last few years, the findings of a household and individual user survey completed by Research ICT Africa! suggests that policy outcomes geared at the creation of an equitable information society may be sub-optimal.


1. SA lagging. Despite being a continental leader in ICT, many countries are catching up to SA and overtaking it on a number of key indicators.

2. Mobile prices inhibit optimal use. Despite the exponential growth of mobile, high prices inhibit optimal use of services.

3. Internet/broadband crisis. One of the major areas of concern is the low penetration rates for Internet.

4. Mobile not yet the total solution. With the high cost of mobile service and the fact that most mobile phones are not enabled for enhanced services, mobile does not provide short term solution to Internet expansion.

5. Public access phones still widely used. Even those with mobile phones continue to use public access phones to remain connected when airtime runs out or as part of cost effective usage strategies.

6. Demand for mobile at the bottom of the pyramid. There is considerable demand for R25 a month services among low income users.

Suggested citation

Stork, C., & Gillwald, A. (2008). ICT Access & Usage in South Africa (Policy Brief No. 1; South Africa). Research ICT Africa. https://researchictafrica.net/polbrf/Research_ICT_Africa_Policy_Briefs/2008_Policy_Brief_1_ICT_Access_and_Usage_in_South_Africa.pdf