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Foreign mobile content providers underestimate Africa

Foreign mobile content providers underestimate Africa

With GSMA expecting the number of unique mobile subscribers in Sub-Saharan Africa to grow to 535 million or 50% of the region's population in 2020, it is suggested that overseas mobile content and application providers looking to capitalise on this growth underestimate the continent's regulatory and legislative framework.

"Overseas mobile content and application providers wanting to target Africa's 900 million cellular users seriously underestimate the sophisticated regulatory and legislative framework in continental leaders like South Africa," notes African and Middle Eastern mobile advertising and marketing firm inTarget.

According to the company, not only is the Constitution of the SA often held up as an example of one of the world's finest founding documents, "consumers in Africa's biggest economy are protected to a degree mobile content providers from Eastern Europe and Asia find surprising."

In SA, purchasers of goods and services can fall back on the SA Consumer Protection Act 68 of 2008 and the National Credit Act 35 of 2005, amongst others.

"The way businesses transact with mobile consumers, in particular, is governed by legislation from the Electronic Communications and Transactions Act 25 of 2002 to the Protection of Personal Information Act 4 of 2013."

"In addition, the country's cellular sector is well-ordered with the country's Wireless Application Service Providers' Association of SA (WASPA) being an especially vigorous enforcer of its Code of Conduct which has been repeatedly tightened since this industry representative body was founded in 2004."

According to Grace Mlimo, CCO of InTarget, few foreign content providers seeking to take advantage of African opportunities realise local organisations like WASPA even exist, never mind have the power to issue fines and expel members."

In a recent IDC report, program director for mobile devices at IDC CEMA Simon Baker says, "Africa has always been a tough market for mobile phone companies to crack, and in 2016 that challenge got even harder."

The IDC says overall, 215.33 million mobile handsets were shipped in Africa during 2016, up 10.1% on the previous year.

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