African Continent Fastest Mobile Growth Market
Published on: 1st Feb 2006
Note -- this news article is more than a year old.
The latest report from Portio Research predicts that the African continent will see significant growth in mobile subscribers between 2006 and 2011 adding 265 million new subscribers over that period. During 2004 and 2005 Africa saw overall mobile market growth surge forward faster than any other continent in the world. As Africa relieves its debt burden continues to liberalise its telecoms markets and open up to further competition and foreign investment the mobile sector will be a vital component of future growth in a continent with an under developed fixed line telecoms infrastructure.
The availability of pre-paid subscriptions has been a major growth stimulus across Africa, as in other regions of the world where the bulk of the population live in low per-capita income groups. In Africa, approximately 95% of all mobile subscribers are on pre-paid subscriptions. This should indicate a strong future for P2P SMS and SMS-based services, as has proved popular with pre-paid subscribers the world over. With GPRS and EDGE rolling out all over Africa and 3G licences being issued in many countries, a thriving value-added services market could start to develop.
One key to driving non-voice services may lie in the cultural diversity found in many African countries. In some markets there are many languages, religious groups, political beliefs and cultural differences, for example Nigeria, with a population of over 125 million, is home to over 250 separate ethnic groups. Locally and ethnically-relevant content has been well received elsewhere in the world, particularly in Asia and the Middle East, and there should be plenty of scope for growth in Africa.
This should also indicate numerous MVNO opportunities, where local markets are liberalised and developed enough to allow MVNOs in. Virgin Mobile's move into South Africa could lead to a rush of MVNO activity elsewhere on the continent. In fast growing markets, where growing competition is reducing ARPU and increasing churn, MVNOs may be the next big thing in Africa."