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2006 - African Mobile Communications and Mobile Data Markets


Attention: There is an updated edition available for this report.

Africa’s mobile market is among the fastest-growing in the world, again gaining around 100% during 2005. The fact that 14 African countries have achieved triple-digit compound annual growth rates (CAGR) for the past five years shows that this growth is not just short-lived. It is primarily due to the small number and high cost of fixed-line connections, which seldom extend beyond the major urban centres.

As early as 2001, Africa became the first continent as a whole where mobile phones outnumbered fixed telephone lines, which individually is the case in most African countries today. Every country on the continent now has at least one mobile network in operation. Mobile penetration broke through the 10% barrier in 2005 and exceeded 13% by September, with several countries reaching more than 50%. This compares to only 3% penetration of fixed-line telephony.

The mobile market is open to competition in the majority of the countries, featuring between two and four operators, and it is largely private sector driven. However, developments are still hampered by regulatory environments. Mobile licences frequently require that operators rely on a fixed network operator for interconnection, and relatively few countries allow their mobile operators to operate their own international gateways. A number of mobile operators have therefore acquired fixed-line licences in 2005, for example in Algeria and Morocco.

Tariffs are expected to come down once mobile and fixed have an even playing field, including international gateways. Competition has already dramatically reduced mobile tariffs, which are now close to fixed services in some countries.

Africa is experiencing growth rates in Second Generation (2G) mobile systems now that much of the rest of the world saw during the nineties, and this growth will continue for some time to come - most African markets are far from reaching saturation points. Unlike the rest of the world, Africa will not experience the painful dip between 2G and 3G deployments that the rest of the world saw in recent years - probably quite in the contrary: The first 3G systems were launched in Africa as early as March 2003 (Code Division Multiple Access - CDMA 2000) and November 2004 (Wideband CDMA - WCDMA), not too far behind their European and American counterparts. And unlike the rest of the world, Africa has the killer application for 3G in store: Internet access. Fixed-line infrastructures are poor and owning a personal computer is out of reach for most Africans. But more and more Africans do own a mobile phone and will embrace the opportunity to access the Internet with 3G phones once prices for the phones come down as well. Several mobile operators have already positioned themselves as ISPs.

Regional and international players continued to jostle for positions in Africa’s lucrative mobile market throughout 2005, and 2006 is likely to see more consolidation. Particularly remarkable is the influx of Middle Eastern capital: Kuwait’s MTC acquired pan-African mobile operator Celtel for a record US$3.4 billion in 2005, outbidding South Africa’s MTN. Etisalat of the UAE acquired 50% of Atlantique Telecom’s seven African mobile operations, including management rights. Saudi Arabian companies were also involved in various bids.

MTN lost out in the Celtel bid, but nevertheless increased the number of its African country operations from 6 to 9 during 2005 and in addition acquired a stake in Iran’s second mobile licence.

This annual report offers a wealth of information on the Mobile market, covering:

  • Mobile statistics, trends, analysis
  • Government policies and regulatory issues
  • Mobile technologies - GSM, CDMA, 3G
  • Fixed-mobile convergence
  • Pan-African mobile operators
  • Prepaid
  • Mobile data services - SMS, MMS, WAP, GPRS, EDGE
  • Location-based services
  • M-commerce
  • Mobile satellite services


  • EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
  • OVERVIEW OF THE MOBILE AND COMMUNICATIONS MARKETS
    • ANALYSIS OF AFRICA'S MOBILE MARKET
      • Table Countries with more than one mobile network operator- 2005
      • The impact of mobile phones in Africa
      • Statistical analysis
        • Table Top 10 countries by annual growth - September 2005
        • Table African mobile subscriber growth and penetration - 1998 - 2005
        • Table Top 10 African countries by subscribers - September 2005
      • More mobiles than fixed lines
      • Average revenue per user (ARPU)
      • Churn
    • MAJOR ACQUISITIONS IN AFRICA'S MOBILE MARKET
      • Mobile technologies
      • Fixed-mobile convergence
      • Pan-African mobile operators
        • Table Orange operations in Africa and subscriber numbers - September 2005
        • Table MTN Group subscribers - September 2005
        • Table Orascom Telecom subscribers in Africa - September 2005
        • Table Vodacom Group subscribers - September 2005
      • Mobile virtual network operators (MVNO)
      • Mobile voice services
    • OVERVIEW OF AFRICA'S MOBILE DATA SERVICES
      • Overview
      • SMS
      • MMS
      • GPRS
      • EDGE
      • Mobile banking
  • ALGERIA
    • OVERVIEW OF THE MOBILE MARKET IN ALGERIA
      • Mobile statistics
        • Table Mobile subscribers by operator and annual growth in Algeria - 2005
        • Table Mobile subscribers in Algeria - 1995 - 2005
      • Major mobile operators
      • Third Generation (3G) mobile systems
      • Satellite mobile
  • ANGOLA
    • OVERVIEW OF THE MOBILE MARKET IN ANGOLA
      • Mobile statistics
        • Table Mobile subscribers by operator in Angola - September 2005
        • Table Mobile subscribers in Angola - 1995 - 2005
      • Major mobile operators
  • BENIN
    • OVERVIEW OF THE MOBILE MARKET IN BENIN
      • Mobile statistics
        • Table Mobile subscribers by operator in Benin - September 2005
        • Table Mobile subscribers in Benin - 1995 - 2005
      • Major mobile operators
      • Satellite mobile
  • BOTSWANA
    • OVERVIEW OF THE MOBILE MARKET IN BOTSWANA
      • Mobile statistics
        • Table Mobile subscribers by operator in Botswana - September 2005
        • Table Mobile subscribers in Botswana - 1998 - 2005
      • Regulatory issues
      • Major mobile operators
  • BURKINA FASO
    • OVERVIEW OF THE MOBILE MARKET IN BURKINA FASO
      • Mobile statistics
        • Table Mobile subscribers by operator in Burkina Faso - September 2005
        • Table Mobile subscribers in Burkina Faso - 1996 - 2005
      • Major mobile operators
  • CAMEROON
    • OVERVIEW OF THE MOBILE MARKET IN CAMEROON
      • Table Mobile subscribers by operator and market share in Cameroon - September 2005
      • Table Mobile subscribers in Cameroon - 1995 - 2005
      • Major mobile operators
      • Satellite mobile
  • CHAD
    • OVERVIEW OF THE MOBILE MARKET IN CHAD
      • Table Mobile subscribers in Chad - 2000 - 2005
      • Major mobile operators
        • Table Tchad Mobile subscribers - 2001 - 2004
      • Satellite mobile
  • CÔTE D'IVOIRE
    • OVERVIEW OF THE MOBILE MARKET IN CÔTE D'IVOIRE
      • Mobile statistics
        • Table Mobile subscribers by operator in Côte d'Ivoire - September 2005
        • Table Mobile subscribers in Côte d'Ivoire - 1996 - 2005
      • Major mobile operators
  • DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO
    • OVERVIEW OF THE MOBILE MARKET IN DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO
      • Table Mobile subscribers by operator in Democratic Republic of Congo - September 2005
      • Table Mobile subscribers in Democratic Republic of Congo - 1996 - 2005
      • GSM licence conditions
      • Major mobile operators
  • EGYPT
    • OVERVIEW OF THE MOBILE MARKET IN EGYPT
      • Telecom Egypt's mobile deal
      • Third mobile licence
      • Mobile statistics
        • Table Mobile subscribers by operator in Egypt - 2005
        • Table Mobile subscribers in Egypt - 1996 - 2005
      • Regulatory issues
      • Major mobile operators
        • Table MobiNil subscribers - 1998 - 2005
        • Table Vodafone Egypt subscribers - 1998 - 2005
      • Mobile voice services
    • OVERVIEW OF MOBILE DATA IN EGYPT
      • Wireless data
      • Short Message Service (SMS)
      • Multimedia Messaging (MMS)
      • Wireless Application Protocol (WAP)
      • General Packet Radio Service (GPRS)
  • ETHIOPIA
    • OVERVIEW OF THE MOBILE MARKET IN ETHIOPIA
      • Table Mobile subscribers in Ethiopia - 1999 - 2005
      • Major mobile operator
      • Satellite mobile
  • GAMBIA
    • OVERVIEW OF THE MOBILE MARKET IN GAMBIA
      • Mobile statistics
        • Table Mobile subscribers by operator in Gambia - September 2005
        • Table Mobile subscribers in Gambia - 1995 - 2005
      • Major mobile operators
  • GHANA
    • OVERVIEW OF THE MOBILE MARKET IN GHANA
      • Mobile statistics
        • Table Mobile subscribers by operator in Ghana - September 2005
        • Table Mobile subscribers in Ghana - 1995 - 2005
      • Major mobile operators
      • Mobile voice services
    • OVERVIEW OF MOBILE DATA IN GHANA
      • SMS
      • GPRS
      • EDGE
      • Third-generation mobile (3G)
  • KENYA
    • OVERVIEW OF THE MOBILE MARKET IN KENYA
      • Mobile statistics
        • Table Mobile subscribers by operator and annual growth in Kenya - September 2005
        • Table Mobile subscribers and annual change in Kenya - 1996 - 2005
      • Third mobile network licence
      • Interconnection
      • International gateways
      • Mobile number portability (MNP)
      • Equipment Identification Register (EIR)
      • Major mobile operators
      • Mobile voice services
    • OVERVIEW OF MOBILE DATA IN KENYA
      • Short Message Service (SMS)
      • Multimedia Messaging (MMS)
      • General Packet Radio Service (GPRS)
      • Mobile Internet
  • LESOTHO
    • OVERVIEW OF THE MOBILE MARKET IN LESOTHO
      • Mobile statistics
        • Table Mobile subscribers by operator in Lesotho - September 2005
        • Table Mobile subscribers in Lesotho - 1996 - 2005
      • Major mobile operators
  • LIBYA
    • OVERVIEW OF THE MOBILE MARKET IN LIBYA
      • Mobile statistics
        • Table Mobile subscribers and annual growth by operator in Libya - September 2005
        • Table Mobile subscribers in Libya - 1998 - 2005
      • Major mobile operators
      • 3G
      • Satellite mobile
  • MADAGASCAR
    • OVERVIEW OF THE MOBILE MARKET IN MADAGASCAR
      • Table GSM mobile subscribers by operator in Madagascar - September 2005
      • Table Mobile subscribers, penetration and revenue (1998-2003) in Madagascar - 1996 - 2005
      • Major mobile operators
      • Mobile market forecast to 2015
        • Table Mobile subscriber forecast in Madagascar - 2005; 2010; 2015
  • MALAWI
    • OVERVIEW OF THE MOBILE MARKET IN MALAWI
      • Mobile statistics
        • Table Mobile subscribers by operator in Malawi - September 2005
        • Table Mobile subscribers in Malawi - 1995 - 2005
      • Major mobile operators
  • MAURITIUS
    • OVERVIEW OF THE MOBILE MARKET IN MAURITIUS
      • Table Mobile subscribers by operator in Mauritius - September 2005
      • Table Mobile subscribers in Mauritius - 1995 - 2005
      • Major mobile operators
      • 3G
  • MOROCCO
    • OVERVIEW OF THE MOBILE MARKET IN MOROCCO
      • Mobile statistics
        • Table Mobile subscribers and annual growth by operator in Morocco- 2005
        • Table Mobile subscribers and penetration in Morocco - 2005
      • Major mobile operators
      • 3G
      • Satellite mobile
  • MOZAMBIQUE
    • OVERVIEW OF THE MOBILE MARKET IN MOZAMBIQUE
      • Table Mobile subscribers by operator in Mozambique - September 2005
      • Table Mobile subscribers in Mozambique - 1997 -2005
      • Major mobile operators
  • NAMIBIA
    • OVERVIEW OF THE MOBILE MARKET IN NAMIBIA
      • Table Mobile subscribers in Namibia - 1995 -2005
      • Major mobile operators
      • Satellite mobile
  • NIGERIA
    • OVERVIEW OF THE MOBILE MARKET IN NIGERIA
      • Market analysis - 2006
      • Mobile statistics
        • Table Mobile subscribers by operator in Nigeria - September 2005
        • Table Mobile subscribers in Nigeria - 1998 - 2005
      • Growing pains
      • Mobile tariffs
      • Regulatory issues
      • Major mobile operators
      • Jigawa State regional GSM network
      • Satellite mobile
      • Mobile banking
  • SENEGAL
    • OVERVIEW OF THE MOBILE MARKET IN SENEGAL
      • Mobile statistics
        • Table Mobile subscribers by operator in Senegal - September 2005
        • Table Mobile subscribers in Senegal - 1996 - 2005
      • Major mobile operators
        • Table Sonatel Mobiles subscribers - 1999 - 2005
      • Manobi's GIS system
      • Mobile market forecast to 2015
        • Table Mobile subscriber forecast in Senegal - 2005; 2010; 2015
  • SOUTH AFRICA
    • OVERVIEW OF THE MOBILE MARKET IN SOUTH AFRICA
      • Mobile statistics
        • Table Mobile subscribers by operator and market share in South Africa - September 2005
        • Table Mobile subscribers in South Africa - 1994 - 2005
      • Liberalisation and licence obligations
      • Regulatory issues
      • Mobile handsets
      • Major mobile operators
        • Table Vodacom South Africa key statistics (incl ARPU) - September 2005
        • Table MTN South Africa key statistics (incl ARPU) - September 2005
      • Mobile voice services
        • Table Prepaid subscribers per operator and monthly ARPU in South Africa - September 2005
    • OVERVIEW OF MOBILE DATA IN SOUTH AFRICA
      • SMS
      • MMS
      • Wireless Application Protocol (WAP)
      • GPRS
      • EDGE
      • BlackBerry
      • Mobile applications
      • Third Generation (3G)
      • Fixed-mobile convergence
  • SUDAN
    • OVERVIEW OF THE MOBILE MARKET IN SUDAN
      • Table GSM mobile subscribers by operator and annual growth in Sudan - September 2005
      • Table Mobile subscribers in Sudan - 1996 - 2005
      • Major mobile operators
      • Satellite mobile
  • SWAZILAND
    • OVERVIEW OF THE MOBILE MARKET IN SWAZILAND
      • Table Mobile subscribers in Swaziland - 1998 - 2005
      • Major mobile operator
  • TANZANIA
    • OVERVIEW OF THE MOBILE MARKET IN TANZANIA
      • Mobile statistics
        • Table Mobile subscribers by operator in Tanzania - September 2005
        • Table Mobile subscribers in Tanzania - 1995 - 2005
      • Major mobile operators
  • TUNISIA
    • OVERVIEW OF THE MOBILE MARKET IN TUNISIA
      • Mobile statistics
        • Table Mobile subscribers by operator and annual growth in Tunisia - September 2005
        • Table Mobile subscribers in Tunisia - 1995 - 2005
      • Major mobile operators
        • Table Tunisiana subscribers - 2002 - 2005
      • 3G
      • Satellite mobile
  • UGANDA
    • OVERVIEW OF THE MOBILE MARKET IN UGANDA
      • Mobile statistics
        • Table Mobile subscribers by operator and annual growth in Uganda - September 2005
        • Table Mobile subscribers in Uganda - 1996 - 2005
      • Per second billing
      • Short Message Service (SMS)
      • General Packet Radio Service (GPRS)
      • Multimedia Messaging (MMS)
      • Special regional tariffs
      • Major mobile operators
        • Table MTN Uganda subscribers - 2000 - 2005
        • Table MTN Uganda Average Revenue per Subscriber (ARPU) - 2001 - 2005
      • Satellite mobile
  • ZAMBIA
    • OVERVIEW OF THE MOBILE MARKET IN ZAMBIA
      • Mobile statistics
        • Table Mobile subscribers by operator in Zambia - September 2005
        • Table Mobile subscribers in Zambia - 1995-2005
      • Major mobile operators
  • ZIMBABWE
    • OVERVIEW OF THE MOBILE MARKET IN ZIMBABWE
      • Mobile statistics
        • Table Mobile subscribers by operator in Zimbabwe - September 2005
        • Table Mobile subscribers in Zimbabwe - 1997 - 2005
      • Major mobile operators
      • Satellite mobile
  • GLOSSARY OF ABBREVIATIONS

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