The use of mobile phones by South African university students

David North*, Kevin Johnston*, Jacques Ophoff*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Mobile phones are an integral part of our modern lives. This study explores the use and role of mobile phones among South African university students. Four main categories are used to examine the students’ mobile phone use: reasons to use mobile phones, pattern of mobile phone use, purchasing factors, and behaviour-related issues. Through a quantitative approach data was collected from 362 participants using a survey.
The key findings indicate that the main reason South African university students (mainly from the University of Cape Town) use a mobile phone is for socializing, as well as for safety and privacy purposes. Usability and price emerged as the top purchasing factors. The respondents showed some signs of addiction to their mobile phones. Differences in mobile phone use by gender were found, with female students showing increased mobile phone use for safety and socializing, interest in brand and trends, as well as signs of addiction. The findings could prove beneficial to marketers, mobile phone developers, universities, parents, and researchers exploring mobile phone adoption and usage pattern in a developing country such as South Africa.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)115-138
Number of pages24
JournalIssues in Informing Science and Information Technology
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Mobile phone
  • Reasons to use
  • Usage patterns
  • Purchasing factors
  • Behavioural issues
  • Gender differences


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