Surge in Data Usage Behind Data Depletion, Says WASPA

Published on: 7th March 2017

South African cellular users are spending a declining percentage of their cellphone budgets on voice calls and a growing proportion of their cellular spend on data.

“This surge in data usage is behind the data depletion that has generated recent media coverage. ‘Data leakage’ doesn’t exist. It is a technical impossibility. If you consume something, it will be depleted. That’s basic economics,” explains Casper de Villiers, WASPA chairperson.

South Africa’s Wireless Application Service Providers’ Association (WASPA) says local mobile consumers are still adjusting to the reality of the new global data economy.

“South Africans are abandoning voice-based communication in droves. We predict that less than half of total mobile spend will be on voice calls by the end of this year.

“Consumers are learning how to budget for data usage and will soon realise that data is not ‘disappearing’ from their cellphone accounts,” said Mr De Villiers.

He added the fact that data’s share of cellphone spend is increasing is welcome news for the country’s economy. WASPA has previously highlighted the positive relationship between economic growth and cellular usage that increasingly comprises more data-intensive app interaction. The worldwide GSM Association found that every doubling of mobile data use adds a solid 0.5 percentage points to Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

South Africa’s Wireless Application Service Providers’ Association (WASPA) has been looking out for the interests of the country’s mobile consumers since its inception in 2004. “We’ll continue to safeguard the interests of cellular users. This includes monitoring the ever-expanding mobile horizon for any potential threats and growing data usage isn’t one of them,” concluded Mr De Villiers.

Acting in the interests of consumers to help ensure the long term sustainability of the greater mobile industry also means proactively offering consumers helpful advice. When it comes to data usage, the best idea is to download your mobile network’s usage app, opt to receive SMS data usage updates and download special data-saving apps to remain on top of data usage. Finally, try out different Operating Systems and Internet Browsers to determine which work best for your data needs.


About WASPA:

A non-profit organisation, WASPA was founded on 26 August 2004 in South Africa with the full support of the three SA mobile network operators (MNOs): Cell C, MTN and Vodacom.
WASPA has a detailed Code of Conduct which all members must adhere to and a well-established formal complaints process that is central to responsible self-regulation.

More information is available at