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Africa mobile users top 500m in Q3

11 ноября 2010

Mobile subscriptions in Africa surpassed half a billion during the third quarter of 2010, said Informa Telecoms & Media on Wednesday – a figure expected to rise to 842 million in the next five years.

According to the research firm, the number of active mobile subscriptions reached 506 million by the end of September, up 18% on last year, meaning the continent now accounts for 10% of the global total.

"Although the rate of growth in mobile subscriptions in Africa will slow as markets mature, the continent continues to offer great opportunities for investors," said Thecla Mbongue, senior analyst at Informa Telecoms & Media, in a research note.

Nigeria is Africa's largest mobile market, accounting for 16% of mobile subscriptions, with Egypt and South Africa making the top three.

Furthermore, Nigeria and Egypt, together with Morocco, Tanzania and Zimbabwe together accounted for 48% of the 54 million net subscriber additions during the first nine months of the year, highlighting that even Africa's more established mobile markets are still showing strong growth.

Still, in the next five years, the research firm expects countries in east and central Africa to see the strongest growth rates, with Ethiopia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Eritrea and Madagascar all predicted to see subscriber numbers surge by more than 100% by 2015.

Mbongue said that demand for voice services will remain robust in under-penetrated markets, while non-voice services such as mobile broadband and mobile money services will continue to gain traction.

Connectivity into and out of Africa has improved dramatically over the last 18 months with the landing of a number of submarine cable systems on both the east and west coasts of the continent, she explained; this has expanded the opportunity for providing data services.

"By 2015 there will be 265 million mobile broadband subscriptions in Africa, a huge increase from the current figure of about 12 million," she said. Mobile money users are seen reaching almost 360 million by 2014. By contrast, household penetration of fixed broadband stood at just 2.5% in the first quarter of this year.

However, Mbongue warned that terrestrial backhaul networks need to be extended for rural and remote communities in Africa's interior to benefit from international connectivity.

"African broadband has a long way to go if it is to emulate the mobile revolution that has already swept through much of the continent," said Informa Telecoms & Media

Источник: Total Telecom

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