Now that we’re firmly into the first month of the new year, we’re also about a calendar month away from that much anticipated first quarter event: the annual State of the Nation Address by our (new) Pres. It’s during this highlight of the South African government calendar that the country gets what could be termed its annual check-up. The Presidency consultants far and wide and comes up with a summary of what’s going on South of the Limpopo. This had me thinking about the current state of the mobile nation. What’s the health of cellular South Africa like at present? In a word: Good! And getting better! As we head into 2019, I am especially upbeat regarding the fortunes of our overall industry and highly optimistic that the mobile marketing and WASP (wireless application service provider) sector, in particular, will continue to produce compelling mobile content and applications that mobile consumers want. In addition, news that ICASA is set to begin its market enquiry into mobile data and related prices is one of the most significant competition-related developments to hit the South African economy since the interconnection enquiry of several years ago. The latter had an immediate positive effect on the usage of mobile devices as voice rates plummeted following the Regulator’s intervention. Now, I am confident we will see similar innovation coming out of the country’s mobile operators as they work with ICASA to implement changes in the mobile data space. Already, we are seeing encouraging moves. One big operator this week advised its customers that voice balances will no longer be used to pay for out-of-bundle data. That’s encouraging. All of this means consumer adoption of mobile devices, content and applications will rocket and that’s fantastic news for mobile marketers and our clients. Some 65% of digital ad spend overseas is being ploughed into mobile marketing. With more consumers set to consume more of mobile in 2019 and beyond, thanks to ICASA’s data enquiry, we’re going to see similar wonderful stats for South Africa. Get ready!

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