Cheaper Data, Higher Incomes to Lift App Market in 2020

Published on: 15th January 2020

South Africa’s mobile content and applications market looks set for a boost in 2020.

The Wireless Application Service Providers’ Association (WASPA) says an expected uptick in both mobile app development by its almost 300 members and consumption by SA’s over 22 million smartphone users comes on the back of three recent positive developments.

“They say bad news comes in threes; but with recent announcements to do with mobile data, salaries and the inflation rate, the same could be said of good news,” says Greg Brophy, WASPA chair.

First up, the recently-completed Competition Commission market enquiry into mobile data pricing has found a failure of free competition in the local mobile data market. While the mobile networks are still digesting the implications of the Regulator’s report, it is likely mobile data prices will continue their steady decline that already began some time ago.

“Basic economics says reducing the price of goods and services will increase their consumption. More affordable mobile data will mean greater consumption of data-intensive mobile services and this will, in turn, spur WASPA’s members to develop an even greater variety of mobile content and applications for use on smartphones,” explains Mr Brophy.

“There could be interesting implications here for app development as a solid career choice in South Africa,” he adds.

The economy, too, could experience a subtle boost from the increased local development and consumption of apps that make everything from learning to traveling more efficient.

WASPA has previously highlighted the positive relationship between economic growth and cellular usage that increasingly comprises less voice access and more data-intensive app interaction. The worldwide GSM Association has found that every doubling of mobile data use typically adds a solid 0.5 percentage points to Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

Secondly, incomes available for app consumption are on the up and up. Average take-home pay actually transferred to employee bank accounts in October 2019 reached the R16 000 level for the first time, according to the BankservAfrica Take-home Pay Index (BTPI).

That final bit of promised good news for the local mobile content and app development market comes in the form of Consumer Price Inflation (CPI) currently being at its lowest level in eight years, delivering an added boost to disposable incomes and likely voice and data consumption in 2020.

App development is the next mobile frontier. Like value-added services before them, apps are the new favorites to boost average revenue per user. Greater app uptake has been proven to positively impact every economic indicator important to a developing economy, from employment to GDP growth.

WASPA was founded in 2004 to represent the interests of mobile content and applications providers in South Africa while also advancing the protection of the local mobile consumer. Members must adhere to a comprehensive Code of Conduct which sets out, inter alia, a formal complaints process central to responsible self-regulation. Please see