Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Technology everywhere except where needed by the majority

The year 2013 is gone and everything that happened during the hours, days, weeks and months in that year will be referenced by historians as part of history. 

To wrap up 2013, I spent almost the whole month at my home (Mamphokgo Village) in Limpopo. The December month was very eventful with lost of braaing and partying.  However, I also realized a few things about the challenges of connectivity in our not-so rural village.

·      Whereas most people are now using smart phones and tablets in the surrounding areas, these smart devices end up being used just to take pictures at weddings and parties due to connectivity challenges.

·      You have a better chance of getting a 3G connection by travelling about 20km to the nearest towns of Groblersdal or Marble Hall.  What is worrying about this, is that the residents of these two small towns are much fewer than the communities of Moganyaka combined.

·      This raises the question about the numbers punted about by the telco companies playing in the mobile space in terms of their number of subscribers.  Is the interest in the number of sim cards purchased or real value derived by the subscribers from getting the same connectivity by everyone else in South Africa?

·      In these areas, I noticed that you can only get better connectivity by going to the nearest mountain if you cannot drive. Initially I thought our community were enjoying the beauty of nature and the shades provided by the mountain trees, but I realized that most people were going there for better signals on their cellphones. Things have really changed.

On another note, I also picked up that my Limpopians just love their expensive clothes.  Every second youth in these parts had on their Carvella, Rosmotta  and Arbiter shoes (don’t blame me for the wrong spellings) for the not so young. I could not help but notice all the latest fashion labels that i was not aware of e.g Columbia clothes.  Hopefully one days Mzansi will also be a clothing label.

This might be an indication that there is more buying power for data bundles in these parts than the telco companies realize.  Otherwise, what will be the point to purchasing these expensive pieces by my fellow citizens if they cannot show them off on Facebook, WhatsUp etc.

Perhaps there is another Mark Shuttleworth waiting to be discovered in this place only if there could be more data for the people!  Hopefully one day Telkom, MTN, Vodacom and Cell C will make this happen as I am certain that this applies to most rural areas in the country …..