I think before someone buys a smartphone, they should pass a test. Like a smart test, are you smart enough to operate a smart phone. I blame Blackberry for making people think that all smartphones are built the same.
Data actually costs money in SA.
Unlike places like the UK and the US where there are such things as unlimited data plans for your mobile phones which make Android and iOS based handsets and devices competitive and successful based solely on user experience, in SA data can cost you an arm and a leg. The market will undergo drastic changes in the mobile data field, maybe not on the same lines as pricing in the fixed line data sector, but enough for people to consider using mobile instead of fixed based on convenience.
So people get an iPhone and then lament the fact that it uses up their airtime and they get ridiculous bills or their airtime is mowed down like cupcakes in front of my sister-in-law.
What you can do:
First and foremost, if you want to own a smartphone understand that it uses data. Data in South Africa costs about R2/MB out of bundle. To give you an example, if the average song download is 5MB you will pay R10 just for downloading that song. So get yourself a data bundle. Most networks offer a ridiculously small amount of data on the entry level smartphone packages. Do yourself a favour and spend the money on getting a data bundle. On average most users will use between 500MB and 1GB of data per month. For R200 you get about 1GB data bundle on most networks. Out of bundle R200 would get you about 100MB (100MB x 10 = 1GB)
Unlike Blackberry there is no all inclusive data package for most Smartphones. Nashua have launched a special package for Nokia phones with unlimited specific data usage. Recently several network providers have introduced reduced rate BIS and even launched data bundle similar to the BIS system which allows you to access email and social media for a single monthly flat rate.
The problem is that as former Blackberry users now wanting the glamour of an Android system or an iPhone, we are not used to not being able to access the Internet on our phones without paying for it.
Get to know your phone. Almost all Smartphones that I am aware of allow you to switch off the data and switch it on when you need to. Most new non-Blackberry users with either an Android or iOS device haven't got a clue. But they liked the fact that people oohed and aahed when they pulled out that iPhone or Samsung device. But they don't really know how it works because there are not enough buttons.
Refer to the user manual, search the online forums and ask questions before you buy the phone. You might find that you don't actually enjoy phones with great user experience and you're actually a Blackberry person. You know, standard, simple and made cheap.
Hard facts: Blackberry might survive another 5 years, but the sustainability of data plans will probably not. Blackberry accounts for the majority of the network usage which people pay for on a flat rate. Which means, it is constantly pinging the nearest tower, an activity that would ordinarily be paid for and which would probably not happen as often if we all paid for each service.
I am seeing too many technophobes with phones too complex for their limited cognitive capacities. It is too expensive to operate and the make comparisons with Blackberry. Do the world a favour if this is your thinking, leave the smartphones alone and stick to the sometimes average phones.