This annual report offers a wealth of information on the convergence of telecommunications with digital media in 35 African countries. Subjects covered include:
Broadband infrastructure improvements enable advanced services and applications The use of digital media is still in its infancy in Africa while suitable broadband infrastructure on the continent is evolving. However, significant improvements in national and international fibre infrastructure and the emergence of wireless broadband access and third-generation (3G) mobile systems in recent years are now bringing the Internet to a wider part of the continent’s close to one billion population, and this is opening the way to advanced online applications and services and a convergence of telecommunications with digital media.
Requiring relatively little bandwidth, VoIP Internet telephony was the first application in this converging environment. Beginning in 2004, its use has been liberalised in many key markets in Africa but remains restricted in others. IPTV services have emerged since 2006 and now exist in at least eight African countries. With mobile penetration above 50% across the continent in 2010 and near or above 100% in key markets, mobile TV services are also available in a number of countries.
Besides communication, information and entertainment, the Internet also holds the potential to bring vast improvements in other key areas where Africa lags behind most of the rest of the world: governance, trade, health and access to education. Besides some Indian Ocean island nations, the relatively wealthy North African countries are the most advanced in the areas of e-government, e-health and e-education, but there are also some notable initiatives in sub-Saharan Africa. E-commerce and m-commerce applications are enabling African businesses to compete more effectively in the global marketplace.
South Africa is the leading market on the continent where digital media have reached a level of development to foster an associated advertising and marketing industry. The country is also making a significant contribution globally towards the growth of social networking portals. It has more Twitter users than countries like Japan, China, Spain and the Netherlands, and the number of South African Facebook users is more than doubling every year, making South Africa one of the fastest growing markets worldwide.
Next generation network (NGN) developments per country;
Status of VoIP and e-services per country;
Profiles of market players;
IPTV and triple play services and pricing;
e-commerce, e-government, e-health and e-education initiatives per country. Top ten African Internet user communities - early-2010
Country Internet users (million)Market penetration
(Source: BuddeComm based on ITU data)
Data in this report is the latest available at the time of preparation and may not be for the current year.