A number of myths about the cellphone market in South Africa are set to be debunked by a major new research project kicking off this month.World Wide Worx’s “Mobility 2006” survey, being conducted with the backing of First National Bank, Virgin Mobile, and Verizon Business, will include interviews with thousands of South Africans on the buying and use of cellular phones and other mobile technology.
“South African consumers are confused by claims made by network operators. We’ve put our weight behind the study because we see it making a powerful contribution to the debate about how the consumers are being ripped off by some network operators,” says Sajeed Sacranie, CEO of Virgin Mobile South Africa. “We expect that the study will help to clear the fog and also reveal the truth behind many claims made about South African cellular users, from how many there are to how well they are treated by their networks.”
Len Pienaar, CEO of Mobile and Transact Solutions at First National Bank, which is sponsoring the project for the second year running, believes the study will also offer new insights into the needs of South African cellular users.
“Although we have started a revolution with the launch of Cellphone Banking in March 2005, there is still a long road ahead of us,” he says. “It is now, more than ever, important that we understand what customers’ needs and wants are when using their cellphones for banking, and what is preventing them from using it.”
The project is being conducted in three phases, covering consumers, small business and corporate use of mobile technologies. The study will be concluded in September 2006, with the findings released in phases. The results of the consumer phase will be revealed at a conference on the future of mobile communications, to be held on 14 September 2006 in Johannesburg.
“The data we collect is only the starting point for understanding where the use of mobile technologies will go in the future,” says Arthur Goldstuck, managing director of World Wide Worx. “We expect the conference to set the scene for a clear vision of South Africa’s mobile future.”