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BlackBerry and iOS growth stalls in South Africa, Windows Phone and Android continue to rise

A report by South Africa’s largest telecom operator indicates that BlackBerry and iOS may be becoming irrelevant in the country as both platforms showed zero growth in subscribers in a three-month period. 


It looks like BlackBerry might be losing its charm and dominance in what was perhaps the company’s only stronghold as it struggles to make a dent in the smartphone game.

According to a report by one of South Africa’s largest carriers, the number of BlackBerry owners on its network showed zero growth between May and July, with no subscribers being added to the 3.1 million user base.

Windows Phone, on the other hand, scored a 47% rise from May 2013 to July 2013, as Vodacom added 70,000 subscribers to the existing 150,000. Low-end devices like the Nokia Lumia 520 are the driving force here, while the lack of low-end devices running the more modern BlackBerry 10 has resulted in the OS’ losing its steam, as well as the rise of messaging platforms like WhatsApp.


Meanwhile, iOS is in as precarious a position as BlackBerry, showing exactly the same growth of, well, zero. If you go by the number of subscribers using an iPhone, perhaps Apple is even worse off than BlackBerry, as the latter still commands five times more market share. Both companies are currently focusing on products that fit in the mid- and high-end category, which have little chance in an emerging smartphone market like Africa where many are only just moving on from feature phones.

Android continued to climb up the hill with a 20 percent growth, but it is clearly the folks over at Microsoft that have a big smile on their faces right now, as despite a small market share the rise in users by almost 50 percent is no small feat. As for BlackBerry, well, don’t be surprised if they aren’t even a part of the equation next year, unless they can offer something compelling to buyers instead of cheap phones running on an outdated smartphone OS like BlackBerry 7.


Abhijeet Mishra
Abhijeet holds an avid interest in technology, and when he's not tinkering with this smartphone or covering the latest development in the mobile world (or singing along to classics from Dean Martin or Frank Sinatra), he can be found reading a novel or two.

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