The outbreak of Covid-19 and the restrictions it caused led to a spike in Internet usage according to latest data from Statistics Botswana.
WHY THIS IS IMPORTANT: The report says smartphone usage led the growth with mobile internet subscriptions increasing by 10.4 percent while fixed internet subscriptions decreased by 17.0 percent in 2020.
The number of internet subscribers shot up by 9.5 percent when compared to the same quarter of the previous year.
WHAT DOES THE REPORT SAY? The lockdown restrictions saw schools and work places shifting to predominantly online as part of preventative measures against the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
Other areas like entertainment video streaming and gaming, also saw increases in usage as people needed to entertain themselves inside their homes.
“The total internet subscriptions (i.e. mobile internet plus fixed internet subscriptions) increased by 1.8 percent from 2,106,985 to 2,144,247,” Statistics Botswana observed. When assessing the two types of internet subscriptions closely, it shows that mobile internet subscriptions went up by 1.8 percent (from 2,055,764 to 2,093,386 in 2020) while fixed internet subscriptions declined by 0.7 percent (from 51,221 to 50,861 in 2020),” says Statistics Botswana’s Information and Communication Technology Stats Brief 2020.
Quarterly broadband subscriptions and revenue have also increased. This high rise in internet usage resulted in internet service providers like Botswana Telecommunications Corporation (BTC), Mascom Wireless, Orange Botswana, Be Mobile, BotsNet, Info Botswana and Broadband Botswana Internet enhancing doing so in order to meet the demand.
Stats Botswana report coincides with a global report by Affordability Drivers Index, which indicates that Botswana has maintained a lofty position in the regional leader in broadband strategy.
Increased consumption of digital content from mobile apps to free TV streaming and gaming has already been observed. Online streaming services provided by brands such as Netflix and Disney have also seen growth. More and more people have been shifting to online shopping, including clothing, groceries and food from restaurants.