Non-voice a growing part of African mobile revenue
TELECOMS| Sept. 18, 2012, 8:22 a.m.
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.
MORE TELECOMS NEWS
Nigeria's telco InterC Network targets 10m customersCDMA telco Intercellular has staged a come-back as InterC Network, with a target of capturing 10 million customers in the next five years. Read More
MTN Rwanda launches Business Call Assist for SMEsMTN Rwanda has launched a cost-effective answering position and personal call management tool designed specifically for small and medium enterprises. Read More
Airtel Ghana launches groundbreaking home solutionAirtel Ghana has launched a groundbreaking home solution dubbed Airtel Quonect to provide unparalleled Communication, Connectivity and Collaborative solutions for the modern home. Read More
Ghana Chamber of Telecoms appoints Vodafone CEO as new board chairmanThe Ghana Chamber of Telecommunications has appointed the CEO of Vodafone, Ms. Yolanda Cuba, as Chairperson for the ensuing year, with MTN CEO Ebenezer Asante as Vice Chair. Read More
Telecoms Hall of Fame inducts Glo chairman, AdenugaGlobacom has been named best mobile operator for the year 2016, while its chairman, Dr. Mike Adenuga Jr., has been inducted into the Telecoms Hall of Fame for Telecoms Development as a Platinum member. Read More
Etisalat kicks off Nigerian photo competitionEtisalat Nigeria, in line with its commitment to promote innovation and creativity, has announced the opening of the 2016 Etisalat Photography Competition. Read More
Tigo Ghana rewards customer loyalty with new promoTigo Ghana has launched another promo geared towards rewarding and appreciating its customers. Read More
NCA to prosecute mast owners who host illegal transmission equipmentGhana’s telecoms regulator the National Communication Authority (NCA) has sounded a word of caution to operators of communication masts in the country to desist from hosting illegal transmission equipment off their masts or face prosecution. Read More
Safaricom drops roaming charges by up to 99%Following successful negotiations with its global network of partners, Safaricom has reduced roaming charges for calls and data by up to 99 per cent for over 200 networks across the world. Read More
Nigeria’s fifth telco, ntel, appoints Danjuma board chairmanNatCom Development & Investment Limited (NatCom) trading as ntel, has announced a key addition to its board and the emergence of elder statesman, accomplished businessman and respected philanthropist, Gen TY Danjuma (retd) as Chairman. Read More
FEATURED STORYFinancial services sees AI as both opportunity and threat
Banking is already a key area where technology is having an impact throughout Africa, and a new survey assesses the impact artificial intelligence will have on this sector.
BEST READ NEWS
IN DEPTHAccess and Use of ICT stats released
Statistics Botswana has released the first results of the 2014 Information and Communication Technology Household Survey.
COMPANY NEWSTigo explores options to give customers a greater choice for 4G services in Ghana
Following her recent visit to Ghana, Cynthia Gordon, the CEO of Millicom Africa, has emphasized the remarkable growth opportunities in data and Tigo’s commitment to giving customers ...