Africa leads in mobile growth and impact
TELECOMS| Nov. 11, 2013, 3:07 p.m.
By Semaj Itosno, Nairobi, Kenya
Mobile telephony is an economic booster in Africa and would create 6.6 million jobs in the region by 2020, a new GSMA report reveals.
Released today, the report, “Sub-Saharan Africa Mobile Economy 2013” shows that mobile contributes over six per cent of the region’s GDP, higher than any other comparable region globally, and this would rise to over eight per cent by 2020.
Tom Phillips, Chief Regulatory Officer at GSMA, said despite the significant impact of the mobile industry in Sub-Saharan Africa in recent years, even greater opportunities are ahead.
According to the report, Sub-Saharan Africa’s unique mobile subscriber base has grown by 18 per cent annually over the last five years, making it the fastest growing region globally.
“Beyond further growth for voice services, the region is starting to see an explosion in the uptake of mobile data. However, a short-term focus by some countries on generating high spectrum fees and maximising tax revenue risks constraining the potential of the mobile Internet,” said Phillips.
"Last year, the mobile ecosystem directly supported 3.3 million jobs and contributed US $21 billion to public funding in the region, including licence fees. By 2020, mobile is set to double its economic effect, employing 6.6 million men and women in the region and contributing US $42 billion to public funding," reads the report in part.
This is GSMA latest comprehensive study of the socio-economic impact of the mobile industry in Sub-Saharan Africa.
"By mid-2013, there were 253 million unique mobile subscribers and 502 million connections. With many countries in the region seeing fixed line penetration rates of less than five per cent, mobile has emerged as the main medium for accessing the internet across Sub-Saharan Africa. While 2G connections still dominate in the region, 3G and 4G networks are gaining scale and smartphone ownership is on the rise. With unique subscriber penetration rates still less than 33 per cent, this opens up a major opportunity for growth in the next five years.
The report calls onoperators and investors to fund the substantial investment needed to extend coverage to remote areas and meet the growing demand for higher speed connectivity.
According to the GSMA report, the future of the mobile industry depends spectrum management whereby new spectrum is assigned using economically efficient methods that balance the socio-economic benefits with the capital expenditure required to deploy advanced networks.
The report says spectrum should, as a matter of priority, be assigned to those operators that have previously demonstrated an ability to use the spectrum efficiently.
"With a number of existing spectrum licences coming up for renewal across the region, regulators must establish a transparent and predictable process for granting spectrum licences and renewing spectrum usage rights in order to allow operators to plan their investments. The renewal of spectrum usage rights should also be based on recovering administrative costs and promoting investment instead of maximising short-term fees," reads the report in part.
MORE TELECOMS NEWS
AMOTEL, WTL rural network now up and runningWorld Telecom Labs (WTL) and AMOTEL have announced that the network they have built in rural Tanzania is now live with residents in three remote villages able to make calls and use the internet for the first time. Read More
MTN Ghana launches 20th anniversary edition of i-FestThe MTN Ghana 20th anniversary edition of the internet festival (iFest) was officially launched at a colourful outdoor event in Abeka Lapaz, a suburb of Accra. Read More
Gilat Satcom, Total IT Solutions connect 10 villages in NigeriaGilat Satcom is providing voice and high-speed data to ten villages in the states of Adamawa, Borno, Kano, Katsina, Oyo and Yobe in the North East of Nigeria. Read More
NCC enforces 2442 Do Not Disturb short codeFollowing an NCC directive, Nigerian mobile operators will activate a Do Not Disturb facility which gives subscribers the freedom to choose what messages to receive from the various networks. Read More
Tigo Business – Building trusted business partner relationships with clientsTigo Business has increased and empowered its account management team to improve its overall customer service experience. Read More
Danbatta seeks Reps’ cooperation on telecom regulationsThe Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, has called for more cooperation and understanding of members of the House of Representatives, on regulatory functions of the commission. Read More
Orange completes acquisition of Airtel in Burkina FasoOrange has announced that, together with its subsidiary Orange Côte d’Ivoire, it has completed the acquisition of 100% of the mobile operator Airtel in Burkina Faso. Read More
MTN Ghana goes live with 4G LTE in grand styleThe plush iconic MTN House, home to MTN Ghana’s operations came to a standstill on Tuesday, as the country’s telecom leader officially unveiled its latest 4G LTE services across the length and breadth of Ghana. Read More
NCC to end telcos’ voluntary adherence to corporate governanceAfter more than one year of voluntary adherence by telcos to the Corporate Governance Code for the industry, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) yesterday started a journey that will lead to mandatory enforcement. Read More
FEATURED STORYFirst-ever Africa Barclays Accelerator programme concludes
Ten fintech companies have concluded the first-ever Barclays Accelerator, powered by Techstars in Africa.
BEST READ NEWS
IN DEPTHEthical Hacking students can’t get a heck of a job
Botswana ethical hacking students report that they are failing to break into the local job market.