Africa now world's second biggest mobile market - TechCentral

Africa now world’s second biggest mobile market

Africa is now the world’s second largest mobile market by connections after Asia and the fastest-growing mobile market in the world, according to the GSMA, and industry association.

According to the new GSMA Africa Mobile Observatory 2011 report, mobile penetration rates in Africa have reached 649m connections, having first exceeded 50% mobile penetration in 2010.

In the past five years, the number of subscribers across Africa has grown by almost 20%/year and will reach more than 735m by the end of 2012, according to the report.

Ninety-six per cent of subscriptions are prepaid, with voice services dominating, although uptake of data services is “increasing steadily”.

There are six live third-generation evolved high-speed packet access, or HSPA+, networks deployed on the continent, with a seventh deployment planned in the near future.

By 2015, next-generation long-term evolution (LTE) networks are predicted to reach 500 000 connections in Kenya, 1,1m connections in Nigeria and 2,5m connections in SA.

The mobile ecosystem in Africa generates about US$56bn or 3,5% of total GDP, with mobile operators alone contributing US$49bn.

The report says the mobile industry contributes $15bn in government revenues.

However, the GSMA believes there is still room for strong growth given that 36% of Africans within the 25 largest African mobile markets have no access to mobile services.

Projections indicate that reaching 100% mobile penetration could add more than $35bn in aggregate gross domestic product.

Nigeria now has the most mobile subscribers in Africa, with 93m connections. This represents 16% of the continent’s total.

SA, with its more developed infrastructure, leads the way in terms of broadband penetration, at 6%, followed by Morocco at 2,8%.  — Staff reporter, TechCentral

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