Majority of countries in Africa has penetration levels lower than 5 percent,
while African countries have experienced a steady uptake of mobile
Countries such as
South Africa, Mozambique, Tanzania, Congo (Democratic Republic), Lesotho,
Nigeria and Uganda had 181.7 million mobile and fixed telephony subscribers and
29.8 million Internet subscribers in 2010.
These countries will
have 266.1 million mobile and fixed subscribers and 77.5 million Internet
subscribers respectively in 2015, according to Frost & Sullivan.
The growth of mobile voice and Internet markets in Africa is expected to be
driven primarily by a decline in retail price for these services,” said Frost
& Sullivan’s Information and Communication Technologies Industry Analyst
Vitalis G. Ozianyi.
Operators in the
region are investing heavily in mobile infrastructure, including base stations
and transmission networks, with the aim of making higher network capacity
available at a lower cost.
Operators are at the forefront of spurring market growth by passing savings in
network costs to the end users of services. They are investing in shared
terrestrial fibre optic infrastructure, to increase transmission capacities and
connect end users to undersea cables. They are also adopting infrastructure
sharing at base stations, in order to minimize the overall cost of delivering
services to end users.
Cost minimisation is likely to translate to lower retail prices of voice and
Internet services. This will drive the demand and uptake of such
services,” Ozianyi added.
The most prominent challenge concerning growth of voice and Internet markets in
Africa is the low disposable income of a majority of consumers. The cost of
devices required for uptake of Internet services is generally perceived to be
Operators in Africa are likely to experience challenges in penetrating a market
that is largely dominated by consumers with lower living standards. This is
likely to limit the growth of Internet services markets in the short term.
The experiences in the uptake of mobile telephony services in African countries,
such as Kenya, that have experienced significant penetration levels should
provide a template for success.
to offer tax subsidies on mobile phones, laptops and smartphones, that are
required to access Internet services, could also boost penetration levels.
Offering an extensive range of Internet access packages would assist in meeting
the budget capabilities of a wider base of consumers.
Frost & Sullivan suggests that African operators are likely to analyse
models utilised in developing markets in the region to facilitate wider uptake
of mobile voice and Internet services. Growth of voice and Internet markets is
likely to be supported by the availability of low cost smartphones.