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

Work set to start on Gabon-Congo fibre link

Work is set to begin on the Gabon-Congo fibre-optic interconnection, with successful tender bids to made known by June this year and the project delivery date scheduled for January 2016. Read More

Orange Kenya dumping copper for fibre

Orange Kenya will this week commission a project to replace its copper cables with fibre in Nairobi’s Milimani Area. Read More

Second class to graduate from Samsung Academy Kenya

Samsung Electronics East Africa (SEEA) will this week release 98 more graduates from its academy in Kenya. Read More

Telecom Namibia joins global Pearson VUE testing network

Telecom Namibia has signed an agreement with Pearson VUE, the electronic certification and licensure testing business of Pearson, to provide Information Technology certification test delivery using the Pearson VUE® Testing System.  Read More

Telecel Go reduces cost of calls to all networks

Telecel has launched a new pre-paid service platform called Telecel Go, which removes the boundaries between networks and reduces the cost of calls across all networks significantly. Read More

Huawei rolls out new base stations in Zambia

Vice President Dr Guy Scott makes a call from the new tower Chinese communications equipment giant Huawei Technologies has launched the first of a series of 169 base stations that will connect rural communities in Zambia to the mobile phone network. Read More

Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda strike deal to lower roaming rates

Plans are underway to lower roaming rates among Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda.  Read More

Kenyans making longer calls - CAK Report

Robust marketing by telecoms and lowered call rates saw Kenyans use mobile phones more in 2013, the latest sector report shows.  Read More

Telecom Namibia, XON Systems, Juniper Networks invest in network academy

Frans Ndoroma Telecom Namibia has set up a Telecom Namibia Juniper Networks Academy in conjunction with XON Systems and Juniper Networks to boost the training of network engineersin its training facility. Read More

Nokia X excites Ghana smartphone lovers

Nokia Ghana has unveiled one of its new smartphone products, the Nokia X, onto the Ghanaian mobile phone market. Read More

PRESS OFFICES

Sage ERP AfricaSage Pastel AccountingTrust PayVMWareSamsung ElectronicsMitsumi DistributionPhoenix DistributionSage HR AfricaMTN Business

FEATURED STORY

Kenyan shift to Green Economy would generate USD 45bn by 2030 Kenyan shift to Green Economy would generate USD 45bn by 2030

Kenya’s transition to a green economy could produce major economic benefits  equivalent to an estimated USD 45 billion by 2030, a new  study shows.

IN DEPTH

E-waste threatens Ghana’s beachesE-waste threatens Ghana’s beaches

Many beaches in Ghana, already stressed by pollution and poor maintenance, are now facing a new threat: e-waste.

COMPANY NEWS

VMware Reports First Quarter 2014 Results

VMWare has announced Year-over-Year revenue growth of 14% to $1.36 Billion in its Q114 results.