This report provides 181 statistical tables showing trends and developments in the mobile telecommunications and mobile data markets of the 38 most significant African countries in terms of telecommunications. Statistics are given up to 2008.
Mobile phone networks dominate Africa’s telecommunications markets; they provide around 90% of all subscriber connections. The subscriber base is still growing at around 40% per year across the continent, but the growth curves are beginning to flatten in the more mature markets, forcing operators to compete more aggressively on price, quality of service and by introducing new services. However, enormous further potential remains, with overall market penetration only standing at around 40% while the first African countries have recently broken the 100% barrier.
With their superior national coverage and large subscriber bases compared with the fixed-line networks, Africa’s mobile operators have built up a level of market power to the extent that they have been called ‘the new incumbents’. However, newly introduced converged licensing regimes are now allowing many old national telcos and other second tier players to enter the lucrative mobile market as well, but they also allow the mobile operators to branch out into new service segments.
Due to Africa’s limited fixed-line infrastructure, the mobile networks are beginning to play an increasing role in Internet service provision, following the launch of 3G mobile broadband services in a growing number of markets. Mobile payment and banking services are revolutionising Africa’s banking sector where only a small percentage of the population has access to bank accounts.
These new services provide welcome new revenue streams in an almost entirely prepaid environment of low ARPU levels. Mobile ARPU has bottomed in many African markets, rising again on the back of mobile data services and streamlined operations.
Data in this report is the latest available at the time of preparation and may not be for the current year.
The following notes provide some background to our scenario forecasting methodology:
This report includes what we term scenario forecasts. By describing long-range scenarios we identify a band within which we expect market growth to occur. The associated text describes what we see as the most likely growth trend within this band. The projections shown in the tables in this report are based on our own historical information, as well as on telecommunication sector statistics from official and non-official, national and international sources. We assume a possible deviation of 15-20% around this data. All statistics for GDP, revenue, etc are shown in US$, in order to maintain consistency within and between markets. At the same time we acknowledge that this can introduce some irregularities.