Africa leads in mobile growth and impact


Image: By BiztechAfrica
Africa leads in mobile growth and impact

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.

Share the News

Get Daily Newsletter

comments powered by Disqus


MTN Business completes Hybrid Cloud offering with Microsoft Azure ExpressRoute

MTN Business has taken another step in moving African enterprises closer to accessing cloud services, with the announcement that it will offer Microsoft Azure ExpressRoute to its clientele. Read More

MTN bags prestigious international award

MTN has joined an elite group of household brands such as Apple and Coca Cola after being voted the Brand of the Year in the telecommunications category at the World Branding Awards in London, United Kingdom. Read More

MTN Uganda slashes call rates

MTN Uganda may have fired the first salvo in a new price war in Uganda’s telecoms sector, with its reduction of calling rates across all networks by over 40 percent.  Read More

Airtel, Liquid Telecom in pan-African fibre deal

Airtel will use Liquid Telecom's terrestrial fibre network to connect its mobile base stations and enterprises. Read More

Smile, Samsung strike VOLTE deal in Nigeria

Smile Communications Nigeria Limited has partnered with Samsung Electronics West Africa to launch the first LTE compliant smartphone in Nigeria.  Read More

MTN group selects Ericsson Order to Cash Suite

MTN has signed a multi-year agreement with Ericsson to implement, support and manage Ericsson's Order to Cash suite. This solution enables MTN to standardize the customer experience of its products and services in all the markets it is operational. Read More

Hajj pilgrims commend MTN’s free incoming calls in Saudi

Pilgrims embarking on the 2015 Hajj have commended MTN Nigeria for offering free incoming calls while roaming in Saudi Arabia. This is in addition to special discounted rates for calls and data services. Read More

Gottfried Odamtten-Sowah appointed Tigo Business Director

To further strengthen its cutting-edge solutions to business customers and empower Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) to grow, Tigo Ghana has appointed Gottfried Odamtten-Sowah as the Director of Tigo Business.  Read More

UC drives SME growth: Vodacom

Emeka Mba; Adam Thompson and Wale Odeyemi Vodacom Business Nigeria says unified communications can simplify and enhance communications for small and medium scale enterprises (SMEs).  Read More

Airtel sponsors the Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation Forum 2015

Bharti Airtel is the gold sponsor of the Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation (CTO) Forum 2015, taking place next week at the Safari Park Hotel in Nairobi, Kenya. Read More


Sage ERP AfricaSAP AfricaSage Pastel AccountingTrust PayVMWareSamsung ElectronicsMitsumi DistributionPhoenix DistributionMTN BusinessSchneider ElectricMultichoiceMicrosoft 4Afrika


Innovative designer takes e-waste to another levelInnovative designer takes e-waste to another level

Gladys Muyenzelwa is a Gaborone based artist and designer who has an eye for ethnic and contemporary design. But unlike other designers, Muyenzelwa has found a way of using e-waste to make her creations. 


High tech homes: Just press playHigh tech homes: Just press play

High tech, digital homes where everything is automated and connected aren’t the stuff of science fiction any longer, says BNC Technology.


Luba Freeport streamlines its sea of paper with Sage X3

Luba Freeport has implemented the Finance and Distribution modules of the Sage X3 business management solution to automate its business processes across finance and operations.