Nicolette Dirk, finance writer, Justmoney.co.za
FNB has reported a 145% growth of data bundle purchases since 2012, reflecting a shift in mobile usage patterns towards data driven smart devices.
Ravesh Ramlakan, CEO of FNB Service Provider, said that because they sell across the entire spectrum of mobile operators, it gives them an overview of buying patterns in the prepaid mobile space.
“We have found that the rise in data driven smart devices has had a direct impact on data purchases across all of the operators,” said Ramlakan.
Why are consumers shifting to data bundles?
Airtime continues to be FNB Service Provider’s strongest prepaid seller but data bundle purchases have risen sharply over the last three years.
Many consumers opt for the data bundles to have access to the range of apps available.
Buying data also makes calling someone cheaper because the calls made using your free data are cheaper than using your local operator.
“In 2012 data bundles sales were only 6% of airtime sales. However, this figure is now at 12% which is incredible growth in a short period of time. While our growth in prepaid airtime sales has also increased, it is at a steadier rate of around 15% a year,” said Ramlakan.
Shadrack Palmer, head of transaction services at FNB, said consumers opt for the bundles data because they have affordable access to social services like WhatsApp and Facebook. Downloading music is also one of the big reasons many consumers utilise data bundles.
How affordable is bundle data?
Research conducted by World Wide Worx for its Mobility 2014 report states that spend on data across South Africa has doubled since 2010.
Interestingly, 51% of FNB data purchases are made by women, the majority of data, 57%, is purchased using Cell Phone Banking, followed by Online Banking (26%) and the FNB App (15%).
Palmer said 70% of consumers who purchase data bundles are between the age of 25 years and 34 years.
The affordability of data bundles also depends on whether or not you are a contract or prepaid cellphone user.
“It is usually more affordable to purchase bundles on contract. A CellC 2 Gig bundle taken over 24 months will cost your R99 while on prepaid you will pay R139,” said Palmer.
In-bundle rates are also more affordable than out-of-bundle rates whether you purchase prepaid or on contract.
“Smart devices are behind the upward trend in data bundle purchases. FNB alone has sold over 200 000 smart device over the last two years. The customer need was so great that at the end of 2013 FNB allowed customers to purchase multiple devices and now has a vast range of different devices,” said Ramlakan.