African mobile subscriptions to reach 1 billion in 2015
- Parent Category: Mobile
- Published on 14 November 2012
Mobile subscribers across the African continent have been projected to rise to 750 million by the end of this year and jump to over one billion in 2015, according to projections by telecommunications intelligence and research firm, Informa Telecoms & Media.
Data released yesterday by GSMA shows that sub-Saharan Africa has the highest rate of growth in mobile subscriptions, with mobile connections in the region having increased to 475 million, compared to 12.3 million fixed line connections.
Analysts at Informa Telecoms & Media said in a new analysis report that Africa has the world’s second-biggest mobile market region by subscriber numbers. It is only behind Asia-Pacific but ahead of Latin America, Western Europe, Eastern Europe, North America and the Middle East.
“Africa’s mobile market continues to grow robustly, driven by competition among mobile operators, the availability of new data services and strong economic growth on the continent,” said Matthew Reed, Informa Telecoms & Media’s principal analyst for Africa and the Middle East.
He said “substantial opportunities for further growth remain” as the rate of mobile penetration in Africa is the lowest among major world regions while “fixed networks are under-developed or absent across much of the continent”.
The analysis shows that the number of mobile subscriptions in Africa will reach 761 million by the end of this year and rise to 1.13 billion by the end of 2017.
Earlier this year, Nigeria’s mobile subscribers surged to over 100 million. The West African nation is likely to remain the continent’s biggest mobile market.
The analysts at Informa Telecoms & Media have also projected that mobile subscriber numbers in Nigeria will likely further rise to 168.99 million by the end of 2017 while subscriptions in Egypt have been projected to jump to 129.4 million over the same period.
An analyst, Moses Moyo told ITWeb Africa that the penetration rate for Africa leaves room for further opportunities.
“We are not yet done. There is still room for opportunities and further investments,” he said.
Informa Telecoms & Media said the increased uptake of mobile data services was a major growth area across Africa. The analysts also said this was a result of the roll-out of 3G networks, the increasing affordability of data-enabled devices and huge improvements in international connectivity following the deployment of new submarine cables connecting the continent to the rest of the world.
However, despite these remarkable improvements, the number of LTE subscriptions in Africa is still low, according to the analysis report, as only an estimated 5 000 have access to an LTE network.
Moreover, the take-up of LTE services is likely to be limited to niche markets of more-affluent business and consumer customers in the next few years, the report read.