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Africa continues to be the fastest growing mobile market in the world

According to the latest edition of GSMA Mobile Observatory Series, with over 620 million mobile connections as of September 2011, Africa region has overtaken Latin America to become the second largest mobile market in the world, after Asia. The report also rates Africa region to be the fastest growing mobile market in the world.  Over the past 10 years, the number of mobile connections in Africa has grown with an average of 30% per year with a forecast to reach 735 million by the end of 2012. Data from 25 African countries (referred as A25) representing 91% of the total mobile connections in Africa has been analyzed by GSMA. 

The report rates fierce competition and price wars as the core motive behind the rapid growth.  According to it, there has been an average of 18% tariff reduction in Africa region between 2010 and 2011. A key share of subscription (96 %) represents pre-paid service with voice dominating; the uptake of data services including SMS is increasing rapidly. In Kenya, data revenues have increased at a remarkable 67% CAGR over the last 4 years and now represents 26% of the total revenue says the report.

Recent studies by the World Bank reveal a direct relationship between mobile penetration and GDP. In developing countries, it is estimated as that for every 10% increase in mobile penetration there is a 0.81% point increase in a country’s GDP while in developed countries this it falls to a 0.60% contribution. In context with economical contributions, the mobile operator revenues in the A25 contributed USD 49 billion during 2010, equivalent to 3 % of aggregated GDP.  A sum of USD 15 billion has been contributed to public funding through direct & indirect taxes, social security and regulatory fee collected through the mobile industry. Moreover, the report estimates a total of 5.4 Million Africans employed directly or in-directly with the mobile eco-system of Africa.

The mobile phones have perceived a status of an essential consumer utility throughout Africa. It is bringing new channels of innovations and developments for the region. Given the poor fixed-line infrastructure in sub-Saharan Africa in particular, mobile phones are the only means of communication in several parts. Mobile operators are offering innovative mobile services in the areas of agriculture, banking, education, health and gender equality. Cisco VNI (Visual Networking Index), February 2011 predicts that sub-Saharan Africa will have more people with mobile network access than have electricity at home by 2015.

While highlighting the mobile broadband details across Africa, GSMA mobile observatory series says that operators are expanding the mobile broadband access through 3G roll-out. South Africa, with its more developed infrastructure leads the way in terms of mobile broadband with an estimate of 6% penetration rate. Some African countries have recently awarded the 3G licenses. In comparison with Europe, Asia and the Americas, African countries had allocated considerably less spectrum to mobile services. To enable the future growth and reaping the advantages of mobile broadband services, sufficient spectrum is needed for the provision of 3G and 4G technologies in the continent.


The full report can be downloaded at: http://www.gsmworld.com/our-work/public-policy/mobile_observatory_s...

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