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iHub Research By Angela Okune / November 23, 2011

Findings from the African Mobile Observatory Report 2011


The Mobile Observatory series includes reports on the European market, Asia-Pacific and Latin-American regions. This is the first report in the Mobile Observatory series focusing on Africa. This report covers the state of the industry including the latest statistics and market developments. 25 of 54 African countries were covered in this study. These 25 markets contain 91% of the continent’s mobile connections. These markets will be referred to as the A25 from here on.

Some of the major findings highlighted in the report are:

- with over 620 million mobile connections as of September 2011, Africa has overtaken Latin America to become the second largest mobile market in the world, after Asia.

- operators have reduced prices due to price wars. Operators have reduced prices an average of 18% between 2010 and 2011.

- 96% of subscriptions are pre-paid with voice services still dominating.

- 36% of Africans within the A25 still have no access to mobile services.

- Mobile operators’ revenues in the A25 contributed $49 billion USD in 2010 (3% of aggregated GDP).

Figure: Percentage with a mobile connection, by gender (2008, % mobile penetration of 16+, selected countries)

Two additional interesting tidbits:

  • A study by Research ICT Africa, cited in this report, shows that in Zambia, Senegal, Benin, and Uganda, there are significantly more male mobile customers. The opposite is true in South Africa, Cameroon, and Mozambique where there are more female mobile customers than male mobile customers.
  • A Cisco VNI Forecast (February 2011) predicts that by 2015, sub-Saharan Africa will have more people with mobile network access than with electricity at home.

The report closes by advising that digital dividend spectrum should be allocated to mobile services. This will enable the mobile industry to accelerate its efforts to bring connectivity to rural African communities. The report advises that governments in the A25 establish clear guidelines for spectrum planning, licensing, pricing, and re-farming.

Access the report here (via MobileActive).

Author : Angela Okune

Angela is Research Lead at iHub. She is keen on growing knowledge on the uptake and utility of ICTs in East Africa. She is also co-lead of Waza Experience, an iHub community initiative aimed at prompting under-privileged children to explore innovation and entrepreneurship concepts grounded in real-world experience.

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  • Africa Mobile Market Now Second Only to Asia | Scripting4U Blog at 21:59:08PM Thursday, November 24, 2011

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