Lower prices, social media, spur African mobile broadband
MOBILE| March 13, 2012, 3:36 p.m.
A new report by Frost & Sullivan says affordable handsets and a boom in social media usage will spur mobile broadband markets in West and Central Africa.
The report says in recent years, the West and Central African region has witnessed a dramatic increase in mobile broadband connections, mainly due to the surge in mobile broadband connections in Nigeria.
Effective regulatory environments have made Nigeria and Ghana among the most dynamic broadband markets in sub-Saharan Africa with over 150 market participants and massive terrestrial infrastructure development. With the deployment of advanced technologies, such as 3G networks in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Gabon, mobile broadband subscribers are expected to outpace fixed broadband connections in these two countries over the next 5 years.
New analysis from Frost & Sullivan, West and Central African Broadband Market Tracker, finds that the market (covering Nigeria, Ghana, DRC and Gabon) earned revenues of approximately USD1.2 billion in 2010 and estimates this to reach USD2.5 billion in 2017. The low levels of broadband penetration in the four countries indicate that there are significant growth opportunities in the short-to-long term.
"The availability of cost-effective mobile and wireless solutions will be a key market driver," notes Frost & Sullivan's Information and Communications Technologies Research Analyst Mervin Miemoukanda. "At the same time, greater demand for access to social media platforms will emerge as the most important factor for market participants to formulate their strategy for this year."
Rising demand for broadband services in the region has helped reduce the cost of customer-premises equipment, as well as smartphones. Internet service providers (ISPs) have introduced affordable Chinese customer-premises equipment to render broadband services to consumers.
"Furthermore, broadband providers are expected to increase partnerships with equipment vendors to reduce the cost of customer-premises equipment," adds Miemoukanda. "The impact of this driver is expected to be high throughout the forecast period, as mobile operators are shifting focus on growing their data offerings."
The advent of social media platforms, coupled with growing computer-literate societies, has boosted demand for broadband connections across the region. As a result, the number of broadband users in these countries has swelled.
"The increase in broadband users has been primarily because mobile operators have deployed advanced technology networks," remarks Miemoukanda. "As consumers are becoming more aware of the benefits of social media platforms, this driver is expected to remain high throughout the forecast period in all four countries."
With decreased bandwidth costs in the region, the uptake of broadband services is expected to increase significantly. More and more households, and small and medium companies, are expected to sign up for broadband services. As voice revenues have been declining, mobile operators are expected to shift focus on broadband services to maintain profit margins.
"Mobile operators are expected to improve the quality of services through continuous infrastructure investment, such as network capacity upgrade and deployments of new technologies; develop innovative solutions such as cyber cafés for broadband services targeting the mass market and focus on enterprise solutions" concludes Miemoukanda. "These strategies will help mobile operators sustain their profit margins."
MORE MOBILE NEWS
Alliance for Affordable Internet welcomes Ghanaian moves to cut mobile phone taxesThe Alliance for Affordable Internet (A4AI) has welcomed Ghana’s commitment to scrap hefty import duties on smartphones. Read More
VMware Study: Businesses can Take Three Weeks to get Employees Mobile-ReadyEMEA businesses say concerns over trust, ownership and delivery capability may hold back taking advantage of the mobile cloud-era. Read More
Satellite-powered tablet to use Newtec technology for e-learningSatellite solution provider Yazmi has announced a new e-learning scheme using the first satellite-enabled tablet, called Odyssey, and Newtec's multicast technology to deliver content via satellite to rural, remote and low income regions in Asia, Africa and the Middle East. Read More
TECNO to launch sub-$30 smartphone next yearDevice manufacturer TECNO Mobile is planning to launch a smartphone next year that will cost less than US$30, as it looks to remove the barriers to smartphone ownership in Africa. Read More
Airtel, Facebook to bring Internet.org mobile app to KenyaAirtel has announced a partnership with Facebook to offer the Internet.org app to its prepaid and post-paid customers in Kenya beginning later this week. Read More
80% interest in “right person, right message, right moment” mobile marketingNew research reveals that although 80% of respondents feel annoyed when receiving unsolicited messages, the same proportion could be won back by operators and brands if they implemented best practices to improve customer engagement. Read More
Airtel Ghana MD urges youth: ‘strive for excellence’The Managing Director of Airtel Ghana, Lucy Quist, has called on all to blaze their own trail through persistence in the pursuit of their dreams. Read More
Vodafone execs volunteer at Senchi Community LibraryThe senior management team of Vodafone Ghana took time off from their busy schedules to paint and clean up the Senchi Community Library in the Eastern Region. Read More
Airtel Zambia CSR wins awardAirtel Zambia has scooped two Zambia Public Relations Association (ZAPRA) Awards. Read More
Airtel Ghana MD: ‘Ghanaians must tell their own story’The Managing Director of Airtel Ghana, has urged Public Relations Practitioners in the country to use communications tools and channels at their disposal, to tell their own story and that of Ghana. 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.