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Botswana – mobile users 'not really experiencing the net'

Botswana – mobile users ‘not really experiencing the net’

Mobile internet subscriptions in Botswana continue to increase in comparison with fixed internet, according to Statistics Botswana. The data firm attributed the growth mainly to the rate at which data bundles are being purchased for mobile internet, specifically for social media use.

The latest figures show that mobile internet subscriptions increased by 5.4% in the second quarter of 2018 after registering 1,605,727 subscriptions – up from 1,523,545 subscriptions recorded in the first quarter.

While there was marginal growth (5%) in the take-up of fixed internet subscriptions, up from 50,514 subscriptions recorded in Q1 2018 to 53,057 in the second quarter, internet subscription on the whole remains low.

However, IT specialist and chief executive officer of Intellegere Holdings Itumeleng Garebatshabe disputes the data.

The perennial mobile internet subscription over the years does not translate into 'real internet experience for mobile users' said Garebatshabe.

"It's mostly a rise in social media subscription, we are still far behind in terms of consumption of mobile data."

He believes the statistics should have been broken down further to show those buying data for social network use and internet surfing.

"Mobile data is still expensive and people rush for the least expensive which is social media packages," he said, citing that on average 1GB of data cost 100 pula compared to 50 pula one month package for social media packages.

Garebatshabe said most mobile internet subscribers cannot watch YouTube or stream certain audio/video via social media packages.

"The usage data from authorities is not highlighting that people are bound to one area of internet," he noted.

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