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South Africans with internet connections lead the world in expectations for constant connection both at and away from home, with 95 percent of respondents saying they expect it and it is important to them, according to the 2018 ARRIS International plc Connectivity & Entertainment Index (CEI).

Another surprise: a majority of households with Internet connections (56 percent) are willing to pay more for access to new experiences that constant connections deliver. Only India and Chile matched South Africa’s level of expectation.

In a finding increasingly mirrored worldwide, 51 percent said they want an equivalent content experience (and 77 percent said they wanted equivalent quality of connection) away from home as they have while inside.

“This demand for constant connection away from home has appeared quickly,” said Duncan Potter, senior vice president of global marketing for ARRIS. “All of this has huge implications for providers and even enterprises as they cater to more demanding workforces. Other global markets are showing us that pent-up demand will likely grow as younger consumers continue to enter the market.”

The complete findings have wide-ranging implications for mobile operators, residential service providers, and enterprises. The global report, which surveys 20,000 consumer technology buyers in 20 countries about their behaviors and purchase plans, is now in its eighth year.

Better, More, Safer

South Africans’ demand for constant connections runs deep. An overwhelming majority (87 percent) of those with connections believe constant connectivity is changing their lives for the better. For these South Africans, constant connectivity means being reachable 24/7 (63 percent), a seamless experience (defined as fast, reliable and uninterrupted) (56 percent), and granting information anywhere, at any time (61 percent).

Respondents also revealed a broad definition of entertainment. A full 86 percent say entertainment is “more than just a screen,” pointing to new experiences and opportunities that “should be available anywhere, anytime, in any format”.

Throughout the survey, security and privacy gained in importance and emerge as a driving force in technology purchase plans:

  • 74 percent of respondents cited security and/or privacy as their top concern about constant connectivity.
  • In a first, security (55 percent) and privacy (50 percent) dominated the top five factors influencing selection of entertainment and broadband service providers for out-of-home use. Speed (51 percent) and reliability (51 percent) tied for second place, with cost (49 percent) and ease of use (45 percent) completing the top five.
  • Security also appeared in the top three priorities for Wi-Fi devices, knocking off perennials ease of connection (51 percent) and low pricing (46 percent). Speed (86 percent) and strength of signal (75 percent) maintained their leads.
  • The survey found that installations of home security systems could double: 27 percent of homes currently have one, with 33 percent of respondents saying they plan to install one.
  • Security and privacy also loomed large in the appetite for managed video. A full 72 percent said they’d prefer to manage their device options themselves, with 51 percent citing security and 64 percent citing privacy as the main reason.

Finally, South Africans with connections are poised to double their current use of paid streaming services, according to the survey. While 31 percent currently subscribe to a streaming service, a full 34 percent said they plan to use or subscribe to one going forward. Also here, churn for streaming services is pegged at 13 percent, with the overwhelming reason for cancellation (63 percent) being that the service was too expensive.