266m sub-Saharan phone users by 2017
TELECOMSBy BiztechAfrica - Oct. 9, 2012, 12:30 p.m.
New analysis from Frost & Sullivan, the ‘Sub Saharan African Communications Quantitative Quarterly Tracker Q3 2012’, covering key countries in the region, finds that the market had 181.7 million mobile and fixed telephony subscribers and 29.8 million internet subscribers in 2010, and estimates this to reach 266.1 million mobile and fixed telephony subscribers and 77.5 million internet subscribers in 2017. This expansion will be driven primarily by demand and uptake of mobile voice and internet services.
The report noted that broadband penetration in African countries is significantly low, with a majority of countries recording penetration levels of less than 5%. This has had a considerable impact on internet usage levels in the region. African countries, however, have experienced a steady uptake of mobile communications and are poised to witness an appreciable growth of mobile, broadband and internet services over the next 4-5 years.
"The growth of voice and internet markets in Africa is expected to be driven by a decline in retail price for these services," noted Frost & Sullivan's Information & Communication Technologies Business Unit Leader for Africa, Chantel Lindeman.
"Operators in the region are investing significantly in mobile infrastructure, including base stations and transmission networks. This is expected to result in the availability of higher network capacity at lower cost, with operators spurring growth by passing savings in network costs to the end users of services."
Operators are investing in shared terrestrial fibre optic infrastructure to increase transmission capacities and connect end users to undersea cables. They are also adopting infrastructure sharing at base stations to minimise the overall cost of delivering services to end users. Cost minimisation is likely to translate to lower retail prices of voice and internet services and push up demand and uptake levels.
The key challenge to growth and increased penetration of voice and internet markets in Africa is the low disposable income of a majority of consumers. The cost of devices required for the uptake of internet services is generally perceived to be high. As a result, operators in the region are likely to experience significantly low levels of new subscription to voice and internet services in the short-term.
To facilitate wider uptake of mobile voice and internet services, African operators are likely to analyse models utilised in developing markets in the region.
"Operators should learn from experiences in the uptake of mobile telephony services in African countries, such as Kenya, that have experienced notable penetration levels," advised Lindeman. "They should engage governments to offer tax subsidies on mobile phones, laptops and smartphones that are required to access internet services. In addition, operators can extend their range of internet access packages to meet the budget capabilities of more consumers."
MORE TELECOMS NEWS
NCC wants answers on serviceNigeria’s NCC has asked operators to explain a sudden drop in service quality, amid an ‘avalanche’ of complaints from consumers. Read More
Ghana NCA receives NATCOMA two member delegation from Sierra Leone’s National Telecommunications Commission (NATCOM) has concluded a study visit to the National Communications Authority (NCA) in Accra. Read More
Huawei Ghana launches new Windows 8 phoneHuawei Ghana and its authorised distributor, IPMC, have unveiled the new Windows 8 Phone, Ascend W1, in the Ghanaian market. Read More
X Factor goes live in Ghana, NigeriaX Factor, the world’s number one singing reality TV show, which national operator Globacom brought to Africa for the first time in March, has gone on air. Read More
Glo highlights Biiiiig dealsGlo Mobile Ghana has highlighted its ‘Glo Biiiiig 5’, a new tariff plan on which all Glo customers instantly receive five times usage credit for every recharge made. Read More
New cable to connect TunisiaTunisiana and Orange Tunisie have signed a partnership agreement with Interoute for the commissioning of a submarine cable connecting the city of Kélibia, Tunisia to Interoute’s pan European fibre optic network. Read More
Smile launches true 4G in TanzaniaSmile Communications Tanzania has launched the first commercial Fourth Generation Long Term Evolution (4G LTE) broadband network in Tanzania Read More
Main One rebrands, repositionsMain One Cable Company has rebranded as Main One, and repositioned to expand its role in the telecoms market. Read More
Ethiopian mining venture drills into Q-KON for connectivity supportQ-KON has been selected as the preferred provider of connectivity services to Allana Potash Afar PLC, an Ethiopian subsidiary of a Canadian Corporation. Read More
FEATURED STORYICT opens doors for Kenyan slum dwellers
A Nairobi based group is equipping high school girls from Nairobi's slums with ICT skills to help them participate meaningfully in building the economy.
BEST READ NEWS
IN DEPTHDollar-a-month broadband can change Africa
The Microsoft-led 4Afrika TV white spaces project, taking broadband to rural people for as little as a dollar a month, is now expanding in Kenya and launching in Tanzania.
COMPANY NEWSSage Pastel Evolution: the modern ERP tool for the modern Kenyan business
This week’s Sage East Africa Conference, entitled Innovation Beyond Boundaries, attracted over 100 existing and potential customers to the Sankara Hotel in Nairobi.Connected services boosts company payroll and HR administration in West Africa
Connected Services enables SMEs to extend their desktop payroll and HR with an online solution that eases the growing burden of HR managers and payroll administrators.