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Tweenote: Mind the Gap

The second in a series of presentations delivered by Arthur Goldstuck via Twitter. The presentations consists of 10 Twitter messages, or 10 tweets, each of 140 characters or less. The format will be refined over time, but this is how the “tweenote” presentation entitled “SA’s Mobile Subscribers: Mind the Gap” appeared on Twitter on 13 July 2009:

1. SA’s cellular industry was launched in 1994 with 2 networks and a projected subscriber ceiling of only 2-million.

2. In 96, Vodacom launched a pre-paid service, adopting a system first used by Portugal’s TMN in Sep 95. MTN followed fast.

3. At launch the industry expected to reach the 1-million mark in 6-10 years. It reached the million mark in 3 years.

4. In March 2000, the industry reached 5-million active accounts. A small gap (7%) emerged between users and accounts.

5. Active accounts doubled again in just 2 years to 2002, but with the gap between users and accounts now growing to 13%.

6. Subs more than doubled next 3 years, to 23m. World Wide Worx’s Mobility 2005 study exposed users/accounts gap: then 20%+

7. December 2008 sees mobile market maturity landmark: at 50.02m, more connections than people. Networks admit to the gap.

8. Analysis of ITU stats: 63 countries had more mobile accounts than people in 2008. It has business and policy implications.

9. SA is second country in Africa, after Seychelles, to have more connections than users. Tunisia, Algeria, Mauritius next.

10. SA 50m connections, but only 34m users. No room for smugness about 100% penetration. See report at

Thank you for coming! The #tweenote presentation, “SA’s Mobile Subscribers: Mind the Gap”, is available at The Big Change.

* Arthur’s first tweenote presentation, on the role of Web 2.0 in the evolution of Internet maturity, was made in 2008, and repeated in June 2009. It will be reproduced in The Big Change shortly.

One Comment, Comment or Ping

  1. T.N. van der Walt

    Ek het my sel aan Ryno Schalk van der Merwe (ID 830803 5208 08 0) woonadres Ramblersview 303, Kellnerstraat, Westdene, Bloemfontein geleen en hy moes my sel einde Februarie 2011 na my toe bring wat hy nie gedoen het nie.
    Ek het 02 Maart 2011 weer gevra vir my Nokia N70 maar kon nie antwoord nie en ek na die SA Polisie gegaan en hulle gese dat ek sel geleen het en dat ek die sel moet block.
    My besonderhede T.N. van der Walt ID 551219 5037 08 9.
    Sel Nokia N70-1: IMEI:355720022330652.
    Hy moet asb my sel na my terug gee. Dankie


The Big Change is a business strategy blog and newsletter published by Arthur Goldstuck, managing director of World Wide Worx, a leading technology research organisation based in Johannesburg, South Africa.

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