South Africans are gradually getting into the swing of participating in the digital space. From Trend Setters, Bloggers, YouTubers, and other digital strategists, the awareness is surely sinking in. However, there are still many things that disadvantage working in the digital space or online in South Africa.
1. Network Coverage
South African network coverage is still fairly poor. Despite the new generations growing networks, the likes of 3G and 4G, It's still not covering most of the geographical areas. LTE and 4G usually work better in the metropolitan areas, thus denying millions of South Africans this great opportunity. Rural area residents mostly fall victims to this. It's still a struggle to browse freely during internet session and making online calls. Most new age digital features like video calling, live chats, and conference options will require a steady and fully operational coverage.
A report by MyBroadBand, a few a years ago, showed that "Vodacom, MTN and Cell C failed numerous quality tests in the Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal." The main focus of the test was on "network performance in terms of accessibility and retention of voice calls" the report said. KZN is just one among other disadvantaged areas in this regard.
Despite the many portals to access opportunities online, it's only a few who can browse for 30 minutes without receiving the "Data has depleted" message.
2. Data Prices
Well, It's even tiring to discuss data prices in South Africa. The tag #DataMustFall trended more than once on the vibrant social media platforms. This was a call by South Africans who are tired of ridiculous data prices by their service providers. Until this day this issue has not been resolved. Despite the many portals to access opportunities online, it's only a few who can browse for 30 minutes without receiving the "Data has depleted" message.
Data prices remain the setback and hindrance to digital strategists, trend setters, digital marketers, bloggers, vloggers, and musicians. When data is affordable, streaming becomes a hobby. It's by sheer luck that one gets over a million views on a YouTube song in South Africa. This is by scale to the big artists we have. Upcoming musicians become vulnerable in this instance. This is in essence, a total opposite in other African countries such as Nigeria and Kenya who are able to access the digital space at low prices.
3. Handset Pricing
Smartphones in many stores are still heavily priced. Despite the world's growth in mobile use, affording an internet device in South Africa is still a privilege. Universities still welcome a vast number of students each year, who still don't know how to access the internet. The government has made attempts to use technology as the way of teaching and learning, although this is a step in the right direction, businesses can contribute a great deal in this matter.
Brands still don't value people who work in the digital space.
It's vital to compete. Where there is no competition, parties usually relax. It's still a few people who are interested in digital careers. There aren't nearly enough digital players in South Africa. In a society where there are multiple bloggers, YouTubers, and other digital strategists, it's easy to engage matters and bridge the gap amongst individuals to encourage innovation.
Brands still don't value people who work in the digital space. It's a few YouTubers and bloggers who can secure a feature. This can be a great way to advertise and get brands working. Collaborating with an active trendsetter on Twitter perhaps would really work well in raising awareness about your product and services.
These opportunities that come with the digital space can really help South Africa and its youth in this age of unemployment, meanwhile bettering the South African economy from the sidelines.