JOHANNESBURG: BlackBerry, the once dominant Canadian smartphone brand, still has 6% market penetration in five important African countries and its share is expected to rise to 16%, a new report has forecast.

Research firms World Wide Worx and GeoPoll polled 3,500 mobile phone users in South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana and Uganda and found consumers there are bucking an international trend.

The survey concluded that, as new models were introduced, old BlackBerry devices entered the mass market and they are still regarded as a status symbol in much of Africa, BD Live reported.

This "hand-me-down" approach suggests BlackBerry will retain its position as the third most popular phone brand in major Africa markets, the report said.

Nokia, the Finnish vendor now owned by Microsoft, remains the single biggest phone brand with about a third (34%) of the market, but its share is falling fast with almost half (46%) of respondents saying they used to own a Nokia and only 18% intend to buy one next time.

Samsung is the second most popular brand in these five markets with 17% market share and, encouragingly for the South Korean manufacturer, over a quarter (26%) of respondents say they intend to buy one in the future.

Other phone brands are also expected to increase their share at the expense of Nokia in the near future.

These include Apple (2% now, but forecast to increase to 11%), Huawei (3%, rising to 9%), Sony (2%, rising to 5%) and LG (3%, rising to 5%).

Elsewhere, the report found that internet browsing via phones now stands at 40% across all five markets, ranging from 51% in Ghana, followed by Nigeria (47%), South Africa (40%), Kenya (34%) and Uganda (29%).

However, even though South Africa has a smaller proportion of people using mobile devices to access the internet, it has the highest rate of app downloads, at 34%, which suggests higher levels of smartphone ownership.

Data sourced from BD Live; additional content by Warc staff