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
TNM courts trouble with investment prospects in ISPTNM, one of Malawi's two mobile telecommunication services providers, has courted trouble with its announcement of plans to invest in the provision of ‘generic’ Internet Service Provider (ISP) operations. Read More
Tigo deploys overhead fibre in GhanaTigo Ghana has embarked on an overhead fibre project in some parts of the country in a bid to reduce damage to its cables. Read More
Bharti Airtel appoints Dr. Titus Naikuni as Chairman, Airtel KenyaBharti Airtel has announced the appointment of Dr. Titus Naikuni as the Chairman of the Board of Directors of Airtel Kenya. Read More
NCC descends on Lagos firmThe Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has descended on Owntel Communications for allegedly offering telecommunications services for which it was not licensed. Read More
BTCL wraps up nationwide employee road showsAs part of the overarching awareness activities ahead of the much-anticipated Initial Public Offering (IPO) of Botswana Telecommunications Corporation Limited (BTCL), the company has successfully completed a nationwide employee road show. Read More
Gabon Telecom striking employees threaten disruptionGabon Telecom employees who have been on strike since last week over pay increases, bonuses and housing allowances, are now threatening to disrupt the company operations. Read More
How service quality can improve: NCCNigeria’s NCC says quality of service problems are caused by too much traffic on networks, and operators have been urged to keep expanding their capacity. Read More
Mobile subscriptions in Africa near billion markMobile subscriptions in Africa passed 880 million in Q3 of 2014 with a 77 percent mobile penetration, says Ericsson’s latest Mobility Report. Read More
Apple commends Glo on iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus launchThe creative management of the launch of iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus in Nigeria by Globacom has earned commendation from Apple, manufacturer of high end smartphones. Read More
Africell DRC’s free calls delight users despite lack of interconnectionDespite its lack of interconnection, Africell’s low rates make it a popular choice for DRC subscribers. Read More
FEATURED STORYGSMA: half a billion mobile subscribers in SSA by 2020
The number of unique mobile subscribers in Sub-Saharan Africa will pass the half billion mark in 2020, says a new GSMA report.
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 NEWSVMware Study: Businesses can Take Three Weeks to get Employees Mobile-Ready
EMEA businesses say concerns over trust, ownership and delivery capability may hold back taking advantage of the mobile cloud-era.