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?