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Internet Penetration is the portion of a particular population that is using Internet. This Internet can either be fixed or Mobile.
The population of Africa is estimated to be 1,037,524,058 but out of these people only 118,609,620, which is 11.4% of the population (the smallest in the world) can access Internet. Internet can be accessed by these people by means of the traditional and new forms, which include, office desktops(PCs) and laptops, home computers and Mobile hand held devices like Smart Phones. Internet is still distributed and transmitted to users by the Internet service providers through a mix of traditional and also new methods which include, Leased lines, ISDN lines, ADSL links, Broadband Wimax and WiFi, Mobile Dongles and satellite among others.
Although most of offices are trying to jump onto the wagon of Internet by availing Internet to each and every computer in the office, Internet usage at homes and in places of freedom is still limited. This is greatly attributed to either the limited distribution methods in homes, or the cost of acquiring the devices necessary in the usage of Internet at a personal level for homes and Mobile Internet usage.
Researchers are predicting that Mobile (smart phones) Internet will overtake office and cooperate (PC) Internet as means of accessing Internet in the near future.
Companies like Google are planning to reduce the cost of smart phones in Africa and other Phone companies like Nokia are encouraging economies in East Africa to remove taxes on Mobile phones to up mobile penetration and Mobile Internet penetration.
Although some people support the move, other people are looking at the other side of the coin. People against the move are wondering whether really when there are more Internet enabled hand held devices, we shall enjoy more Internet penetration. People have sighted a possibility of having these smart phones being used for only voice calls, which gives a very low utilization of the phone . There is also a possibility of these device producers looking for market of their products with out necessarily bringing up some thing for the sake of Africa.
Internet penetration is not only affected by the cost of ownership in Africa but also other factors like cost of production by the service providers also come into play. Most areas are not covered by the conventional Broadband Internet, which is only found in the capital cities and major towns of the African Countries.
According to your insight, do you think the move for African countries to reduce/remove import duties and other taxes on Internet enabled devices as a way of increasing the availability of smart phone, could allow higher Internet penetration in Africa?