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Ten mobile phone markets to watch in Africa

Ten mobile phone markets to watch in Africa.

Ten 'off-the-beat' African countries are projected to hold 81 million mobile subscribers by the end of 2018, according to a report from the Arab Advisors Group research body.

The likes of Nigeria, South Africa and Kenya have become sub-Saharan Africa's mobile market poster children as each of these countries respectively has over 120 million, 50 million and 30 million cellular users each.

But the Arab Advisors Group has written a report analysing strong growth prospects in the mobile phone markets of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Ethiopia, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Madagascar, Mozambique, Senegal, Tanzania, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

According to the Arab Advisors Group, cellular adoption in these ten markets grew at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 21% between 2009 and 2013.

And the Arab Advisors Group further forecasts CAGR in these countries of 9% between 2014 and 2018.

"The aggregate cellular penetration rate of the ten sub-Saharan countries in focus stood at 64% by end of 2013. On a country level, the cellular penetration rates ranged from 36% up to 104%," says the group in a press statement regarding its research.

"The Arab Advisors Group projects the combined cellular growth of subscriptions in the selected countries to reach 81 million during the forecast period ending 2018, translating into an aggregate penetration rate of 73% by end of the period," adds the group.

The Arab Advisors Group goes on further to say that total cellular revenues of the ten countries exceeded $10 billion in 2013.

Meanwhile, the body projects cellular revenues of these ten countries to grow at a CAGR of 5% during the forecast period.

"Our projections take into consideration various factors, including the current and projected economic and political landscape, historical cellular growth, cellular coverage, 3G investments, upcoming cellular licenses, and operators' strategies," notes the group.

The Arab Advisors Group is not the first research body to talk up mobile markets such as the DRC and Ethiopia.

In July, researchers Frost & Sullivan forecast that combined revenues from the telecommunications sectors in Ethiopia and the DRC are expected to more than double from $1.78 billion to $3.27 billion by 2018.

This is mainly owing to these two countries' low mobile phone usage rates and large populations. Ethiopia; for example, has a population of over 90 million but has a mobile penetration rate of 36.4% while the DRC, which has a population of over 65 million, has a cellular usage rate of just 24.1%, according to Frost & Sullivan.

Stifling factors for the Ethiopian market; though, include a lack of competition in the telecoms sector as Ethio Telecom holds a phone network monopoly in the nation.

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