Which is the Most Popular Smartphone in South Africa?


There are so many mobiles and smartphones available in South Africa but there is one phone that has become the talk of the town lately. This phone is from Hisense and recently MTN and Vodacom , the two most popular mobile networks in South Africa, conducted a poll, where they considered the two factors of affordability and features that make the mobile popular. The results show that the Hisense U961, priced at an affordable R999 is the most widely used phone in South Africa. Other favourites that made it to the list include the Mobicel Rebel and Mobicel Astro.

Most Popular Smartphone in South Africa

Samsung  and Huawei also does feature on the list, with the Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime Plus and the Samsung Galaxy J5 Prime landing in the fourth and fifth spot respectively. All the phones in the most popular list cost no more than R1 000.

The Hisense U961 phone

Hisense phone in South Africa

The complete specifications of Hisense U961 are the following:

  • Screen display: 5.0 inch with TFT display
  • Ram: 512 MB
  • ROM: 4 Gb
  • Chipset: Dualcore 1.0 Ghz Processor
  • Network : 2G/3G
  • Rear Camera: 5MP Camera with flash
  • Front Camera: 0.3MP
  • Bluetooth: 4.0
  • OS: Android 4.4 KitKat
  • Battery: 2000mAh

Hisense has several of its other models of smartphones, including the H11 Infinity Pro and A2 Pro which it introduced in 2018. The devices come with a range of features, including a dual-camera system on the H11 Infinity Pro and an e-ink display on the back of the A2 Pro.The A2 Pro’s e-ink display – similar to what you would find on a Kindle – is turned on via the side of the device, and act which switches off its main display. Content viewed using the A2 Pro’s web browser on the main screen may be sent to the e-ink display, and the e-ink display can be used to access apps such as the calculator and calendar. A camera app is also available from the e-ink display, allowing you to capture photos from the more power-efficient screen.

Visit here to know the latest Hisense smartphones available in South Africa

Other smartphones that are popular in South Africa

Popular smartphones in South Africa

Various other smartphones are also popular in South Africa. Apple iPhones; the Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime, Huawei ANE LX1 P 20 Lite, Samsung Galaxy J5, Hqawei VNS- L31 P9 Lite, Huawei CAG- L02 Y3 2018, Samsung SM – J111F Galaxy J1 Ace, Apple iPad and Samsung SM- G570F J5 Prime are the popular smartphones to name in South Africa.

In the survey of 2019, from a total of 13 025 smartphones, 24% (3 172) are Apple, followed by Samsung with 17% (2 166) and Huawei with 7% (925).

The reasons of popularity of these smartphones

The main reason of popularity of these smartphones in South Africa is their affordability. Local smartphone brands’ shipments in South Africa grew 33% year-on-year in 2018, with Mobicel being the leading contributor, showing that Mobicel is the fastest growing affordable smartphone.

Mobicel’s Astro was the top-selling smartphone in SA during 2018, which helped the company raise its market share. While higher-end phones dominate the advertising sector, they simply aren’t affordable.

According to the survey it was made clear that also the affordability made the Hisense U961 popular in the South African market. Affordability has been considered as the key reason for rising smartphone sales in the country.

Other than affordable, South Africans taking the poll also factored in what their phones would be used for. The  most popular activities that South Africans are involved when using their smartphones are are as Making calls – 59%; Receiving calls – 44; Accessing the internet or playing games – 40% and Accessing applications – 21%.

South African mobile slots

While making and receiving calls is something that every smartphone can do, the differentiating factor was Android Go. Three out of the top five smartphones sold in South Africa use Android Go.According to IAB SA’s South African Social Media Landscape report, WhatsApp was the most used app among Android phone users. Other apps on the list include Facebook, Instagram, Capitec’s banking app, and Uber. All of these apps are supported by Android Go, which makes this mobile operating system the largest smartphone market in South Africa; and thus makes the smartphones that use this operating system popular as well.

South African Mobile Networks

South African Mobile Networks

The high demand for smartphones is mainly driven not only by the reasonable prices of smartphones, but also by cheaper 4G mobile data plans by mobile networks.

Most of South Africa’s mobile service providers offer discounted bundles and tariff plans. This allows the majority of the South African population access to the Internet and the myriad of services that come with it.

According to MyBroadband, South Africa’s two biggest mobile companies Vodacom and MTN have retained their leads – with 43.1 million and 30.2 million users, respectively. The active subscribers for each network are as follows:

  • Vodacom 43.1 million
  • MTN 30.2 million
  • Cell C 16.3 million
  • Telkom 5.2 million

Thus, South Africans consider price, available features, and the affordability of 4G mobile data plans when purchasing smartphones. In that regard, Hisense is the best smartphone one could afford in South Africa making it a popular mobile.

About the author

Kamal Kaur