Mobile casework have had an important and absolute impact on developing countries where they are the main means of abutting to the internet. However, mobile casework have accommodation constraints. They use bound radio abundance spectrum, which means that mobile data about has usage limits. They also have high prices per unit (per gigabyte), which after-effects in lower use per connection.

Fixed-line broadband, on the other hand, has decidedly lower prices per unit. It is often offered on an uncapped or absolute basis and accordingly has higher usage per connection. This enables a wider range of services. Fixed lines are big-ticket to roll out, but these costs are falling.

So a catechism arises: is mobile enough for developing countries like South Africa?

It’s an important catechism because there is a abundant “digital divide” amid countries, as well as within countries like South Africa. This aberration in access to agenda technology also exists amid households that have access to the internet at home and those that do not.

In a recent paper, we looked at the catechism of barter amid fixed and mobile broadband services. Our after-effects show that having a computer and access to an internet affiliation at work or school is at least as important in active broadband assimilation as abbreviation mobile data prices.

Our allegation advance that relying solely on mobile networks to bridge the “digital divide” is not enough. Policymakers and regulators should accede ways of accretion access to computers and internet at work and schools, calm with accretion access to fixed-line broadband.

The agenda divide

Overall, only 10 percent of households in South Africa report having access to the internet at home. This compares to almost 50 percent across developing countries. But even the low boilerplate internet access in South Africa masks important bounded disparities.

In the Western Cape, for example, 26 percent of households have internet access at home, compared to 2 percent in Limpopo. This suggests that access to the internet in South Africa is very low overall, and highly skewed, absorption the acute levels of inequality.