Non-voice a growing part of African mobile revenue

TELECOMS

|
Image: By BiztechAfrica
Non-voice a growing part of African mobile revenue

A new report by BuddeComm says mobile broadband and data services are making a significant contribution to the revenues of African cellcos. 

The report, by BuddeComm's Senior Analyst Africa, Peter Lange, looks at the African mobile broadband, data and mobile media market. The report finds that a growing proportion of mobile operator revenue is coming from non-voice services, with Kenyan operator Safaricom, for example, making almost 30% of its revenue with non-voice services in 2011/12. More than half of this was generated by its tremendously successful M-Pesa mobile banking service, with the other half roughly evenly split between SMS and mobile broadband, says the report.

In the continent’s most advanced markets, m-commerce, mobile content, applications and media have reached a level of development that is beginning to foster an associated advertising and marketing industry.

The report adds that wherever 3G mobile broadband services are deployed in sub-Saharan Africa, they quickly take over as the preferred means of access to the internet, provided that a suitable backbone network is in place.  

DSL services offered by national telcos on their typically underdeveloped fixed-line networks are quickly reduced to niche market status, as are most traditional ISPs reselling these services or offering their own wireless access.

BuddeComm says the extensive national network infrastructure of the mobile operators and their large user bases for voice services place them in a dominant market position for data services as well. The additional revenue is welcome in an environment of shrinking average revenue per user (ARPU) in the mobile voice market.

In many countries in the region, national fibre backbone networks are being rolled out, and new international submarine fibre optic cables along the continent’s East and West coast are providing the bandwidth needed to connect millions to the internet, at much lower cost than previously when satellites were the only option. In many cases the mobile operators are building their own fibre backbones under converged licensing regimes.

North Africa has traditionally been in a slightly better position in terms of fixed networks, but even here, mobile broadband is quickly outgrowing other access methods. Mobile broadband prices are often comparable to fixed broadband offerings or at least not far behind. In Morocco, Africa’s most penetrated DSL market with some of the lowest prices on the continent, 3G mobile broadband jumped from virtually zero to over 40% of all connections within two years after launch and made up more than 80% by mid-2012.

Using dual carrier DC-HSPA+ technology, up to 42Mb/s are currently being offered by 3G mobile operators in Africa. The continent’s first commercial LTE 4G networks have been launched in Angola, Namibia, Mauritius and Tanzania, with South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya and Egypt expected to follow soon. Problems with frequency spectrum allocation have delayed commercial LTE services in some countries.

The arrival of low-cost smartphones, locally manufactured in Ethiopia for example, has lowered the barrier of entry to the internet market for African consumers. South Africa’s leading operator, Vodacom, has seen the number of smartphones on its network grow at almost twice the rate of 3G USB modems, reaching a combined total of more than six million or 20% of the subscriber base in early 2012. Average smartphone data usage almost doubled in the past year to reach 92MB per month.

The highest number of active mobile broadband subscriptions as a percentage of the population is found in Ghana, at 23% in early 2012.



Share the News

Get Daily Newsletter

comments powered by Disqus

MORE TELECOMS NEWS

Phase3 Telecom upgrades Adam Smith’s facility

Stanley Jegede Phase3 Telecom has upgraded its communications solutions offering to Adam Smith West Africa’s operations. Read More

Nokia devices account for 7m 3G devices, says MTN

Nokia handsets account for the majority of 3G devices on the MTN Nigeria network, the company says. Read More

Airtel Africa announces leadership changes in DRC, Niger

Bharti Airtel has announced the appointment of three key business leaders in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Niger. Read More

BTCL shares to be floated in November

The Botswana Telecommunications Corporation Limited (BTCL) Initial Public Offering, which has been in the pipeline for some time, has reached an advanced stage, says the government. Read More

Outsourcing of telecoms towers management a win-win situation - analysts

The sale of tower assets by African telecoms operators to independent management firms is a win-win situation, according to analysts, with operators benefitting from reduced costs and the buyers obtaining potentially valuable long-term assets.  Read More

Smartphones fail to break into DRC market

Despite harvesting an unprecedented success in other parts of the African continent, smartphones have failed to make any significant impact in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Read More

Zamtel, NEC in microwave transmission project

Dr Nobuhiro Endo, President at NEC Corporation, and Dr Mupanga Mwanakatwe, CEO  of Zamtel Zamtel and NEC Corporation have agreed to build a new digital microwave radio transmission network to boost mobile coverage and capacity across Zambia. Read More

Nokia, oRn partner for Rwanda’s first commercial LTE network

olleh Rwanda Networks (oRn), a joint venture between the Rwandan government and KT Corporation, has chosen Nokia Networks to provide network and managed services for the country’s first commercial LTE network. Read More

Murielle Lorilloux is Vodacom Congo new MD

Murielle Lorilloux, a French citizen and former Orascom Algeria marketing director, has been appointed as the new managing-director (MD) of Vodacom Congo. Read More

Africell DRC’s star performance makes headlines

Africell is the darling of the media in DRC on the back of winning five million subscribers in under two years. Read More

PRESS OFFICES

Sage ERP AfricaSAP AfricaSage Pastel AccountingTrust PayVMWareSamsung ElectronicsMitsumi DistributionPhoenix DistributionSage HR AfricaMTN BusinessSchneider ElectricMultichoice

FEATURED STORY

MFarmer SMS redefines market access for Ugandan farmersMFarmer SMS redefines market access for Ugandan farmers

Ugandan smallholder farmers are benefitting from an ambitious innovative ICT mobile phone initiative that offers weather reports and up-to-date market information about changes in prices for agricultural commodities, thus granting them lucrative returns from their farming ventures. 

IN DEPTH

NIG President speaks his mindNIG President speaks his mind

Bayo Banjo, CEO, Disc Communications and President, Nigeria Internet Group (NIG) says the proposed licensing of infrastructure companies by the Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC) will breed corruption and entrench monopolistic practices. Kokumo Goodie reports.

COMPANY NEWS

SAP innovation transforms how Governments conduct business

SAP Africa kicked off its public sector innovation roadshow in Johannesburg, to highlight how the SAP innovation solutions portfolio including, cloud and big data, supports all levels ...