266m sub-Saharan phone users by 2017
TELECOMS| 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
Political uncertainty holds back North African telecomsSocial and political uncertainty is hampering investment in telecoms in North African countries such as Algeria, Libya and Egypt in spite of the evident opportunities, says Frost & Sullivan. Read More
AUC expands connectivity services with Emerging Markets CommunicationsEmerging Markets Communications (EMC) has announced that the African Union Commission (AUC) has expanded its connectivity services with the company in Africa and renewed its existing contract. Read More
Mixed growth in Kenyan telecomsThe latest industry data released by the Communications Authority of Kenya indicates growth in some areas and a decline in others. Read More
BlackBerry Passport unveiled in NigeriaBlackBerry Limited has launched the BlackBerry Passport, a new device built for productivity, in Nigeria. Read More
Etisalat’s subscriber figures top 20 millionEtisalat Nigeria has announced that its active subscribers figures have now reached 20 million, upp from 17 million in December last year. Read More
Over 2,000 entrepreneurs become Glo Xchange agentsNigerian carrier Globacom has signed up over 2,000 entrepreneurs as agents for its massive mobile money initiative. Read More
Econet: diversification pays offEconet Wireless Zimbabwe says its strategy to steer the business towards value added services is beginning to bear fruit, as its overlay services showed strong growth in the half year to August 2014. Read More
Tigo Music ‘Unplugged’ set for 31 OctAccra is getting ready to host one of its biggest shows in recent months on Friday, hosted by Tigo Ghana. Read More
Safaricom launches third sustainability reportSafaricom has announced the release of the 2014 Sustainability Report as it continues to lead transformational change within the organization. Read More
FEATURED STORYGrowing African focus on data security
Beachhead Solutions’ new SA and Mauritius country manager explains the challenges and solutions around securing customer data and compliance with new personal information legislation.
BEST READ NEWS
IN DEPTHAfrica lags on digital migration
Only three African countries have so far completed the digital migration process, and serious issues are hampering the migration in other nations.
COMPANY NEWSSchneider Electric off-grid, on-profit solutions to create social change in African rural communitie
Schneider Electric South Africa has set itself a target to create access to energy for 20,000 Africans by the end of this year.SAP accelerates shift to the Cloud with 41% revenue growth in third quarter
SAP has once again raised its revenue outlook, reporting broad market adoption of SAP HANA and its ‘Run Simple’ strategy validated.