JOHANNESBURG - South African smartphone sales climbed by nearly a third in the third quarter of 2017 compared to last year, helped by falling prices, data from an industry monitoring group showed on Tuesday.

Sales rose 28% year-on-year to three million units during the quarter, while basic mobile phone sales were up 6% to 1.6 million units, according to point-of-sale tracking data from GfK South Africa.

“Falling prices of smartphones, aggressive operator promotions and growing Wi-Fi/4G penetration are all helping to speed up the adoption of smartphones in South Africa," Nikolay Dolgov, general manager, point-of-sales tracking at GfK said.

Fierce competition from Chinese brands is reshaping the entry-level smartphone market in South Africa, with the average selling price falling despite a weaker rand currency. About 25 brands are currently contesting the entry-level smartphone market, compared to just six in 2013.

Experts anticipate robust growth for smartphone sales in the years to come as South Africa increasingly embraces e-learning, e-health and e-governance systems.

GfK data shows that there are now almost three times as many smartphones in South Africa than there are television sets. 

- African News Agency (ANA)