Why BlackBerry Is Going Strong In South Africa

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BlackBerry In South Africa

CrackBerry has published a news item about how BlackBerry is going strong in South Africa and has overtaken Samsung. That doesn’t come as a surprise to me, considering the metrics of the market. It is my firm belief that BlackBerry is going strong in South Africa for the same reason that it is in Nigeria: data costs. Regular mobile internet plans are costly in both countries and BIS (BlackBerry Internet Service) offers much more affordable alternatives.

The Killer Factor: Cost

Dedicated BB10 data plans are generally almost as expensive as regular mobile internet plans. While in theory, BB10 devices can run on BIS, not all networks have implemented that. As such, if you require the lower BIS rates, a legacy (OS 6 or 7) BlackBerry device is the way to go. Here in Nigeria, with N1,000, for example, BlackBerry Complete plan offers as much as 3GB of data monthly. A steal.

Glo Nigeria is perhaps the only network that offers BB10 tariffs that are remotely close to BIS tariffs. For as long as I can get 2GB of data monthly for N1,400, let me see anyone try to pry the BlackBerry Z30 out of my hands.

If you read through the comments in the linked article (BlackBerry market share overtakes Samsung in South Africa), you will find that residents of South Africa generally agree that BIS is the factor driving BlackBerry’s strong showing in the country. That means that OS 6 and 7 devices are responsible for the strong growth. This corroborates the premise for my recent article, Will BlackBerry Power A Mobile Internet Revolution In Africa?. There is a market for affordable mobile internet that BlackBerry is sitting on. Will they take advantage of it?


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  1. // For as long as I can get 2GB of data monthly for N1,400, let me see anyone try to pry the BlackBerry Z30 out of my hands.//

    As some of my downtown friends would say, ‘you dust while the dusting is good.’

    (dust means,, leave, scram)

    You are holding on to a device (on a shaky platform) that may or may not be worth a paperweight, in months to come?

    It is looking like, that cheap data advantage would not stand the test of time. Airtel has been bucking the trend, somewhat. OTHERS, most likely would, too (that is, democratize data allowance across platforms)

    Okay sir.

  2. EyeBeeKay,

    You are holding on to a device (on a shaky platform) that may or may not be worth a paperweight, in months to come?

    Yinmu! There are people still using Symbian smartphones effectively, though its death and funeral have been executed. Oh, and a Palm (HP) Pre 3 is arriving my hands today. Yes; that dinosaur. My own Palm Pre still works fine too years after.

    Come on! Live a little! Ride the horse till it drops dead 😉

  3. Had to get a 9720(new legacy device) two months ago to continue using that 3 GB which I enjoy most when my playbook is bridged to the handset.
    I will stick with this combo until the networks drop support for legacy devices BIS or realy give us the equivalent GBs for other devices.
    Mo! I am still holding to my dual booting legacy HD2 and prefer running the windows mobile OS to Android. It still meet my needs.

  4. Hmm…..this issue of data and Blackberry’s dominance in Africa.
    I bet some still haven’t heard of Airtel’s BIS support for Android devices. Well, I’d rather pay more to use data on a droid or iDevice than get another BB after my current hellish experience with the 9700 aka Bold 2 which cant help but hang incessantly all day.

    Take away the cheap data advantage Blackberry currently has & that would be the final nail knocked on its coffin.

  5. In a year or two, this advantage will probably not be there again as there population of the BB devices that it supports continues to dwindle to the point of extinction. By the way, I think I like that the plans are still there I’m enjoying it on a non-BB device on Airtel network. It’s only a matter of time and GSM operators will start supporting other smartphones on these plans.

  6. People keep hating BB, why not compare BB10 to android. They hardly get updates and every tom, dick and harry can now pass out crappy device for android.

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