Africa's Mobile Phone Subscriptions to Exceed 1 bn, Report says.

London-based consultancy firm Ovum is tipping Africa’s mobile phone subscriptions to exceed 1 billion by 2016 reaching 1.02 billion by year-end.

Ovum forecasts in a report received in Nairobi, Kenya on Monday that the total number of mobile subscriptions on the continent will rise to 1.33 billion at the end of 2021.

By TechnoMag Reporter

“As Africa nears the landmark of 1 billion mobile subscriptions, it is clear that the next phase of growth will be in broadband connections and in revenue from data access as well as from new ‘digital services’ such as digital media and mobile financial services,” said Matthew Reed, Ovum’s practice leader for Middle East and Africa.

Reed however said Africa remains less advanced than most other world regions in its broadband development, adding that there is both an opportunity and a need to further improve connectivity on the continent.

“Data connections, as well as data and digital service revenue, will drive the next phase of growth in Africa’s telecoms market. The take-up of mobile broadband will rise strongly, as operators continue to roll out 3G and 4G LTE networks and as smartphones become increasingly affordable,” the report says. “However, Africa remains less advanced than most other world regions in its broadband development, and there is both an opportunity and a need to further improve connectivity on the continent, and to take advantage of the benefits that connectivity can bring.”

“The number of smartphone connections on the continent will reach 929.9 million at the end of 2021. And non-SMS mobile data revenue in Africa will rise from 6.40 billion U.S. dollars in 2015 to 27.56 billion dollars in 2021, a compound annual growth rate of 27.6 percent.” it said.

The number of fixed broadband connections in Africa is also expected to increase significantly over the coming years, albeit from a very low base. “It will rise from 13.78 million at the end of 2016 to 19.97 million at the end of 2021,” the report said.

Mobile phones

Mobile phones

The report says the number of fiber and fixed LTE connections will increase sharply over the next five years, but Digital Subscriber Line will remain the dominant fixed broadband technology on the continent, accounting for 70.7 percent of African fixed broadband connections in 2021.

Despite the progress being made in connecting Africa, the continent ranks second lowest among world regions in its broadband development, according to Ovum’s Broadband Development Index (BDI), which measures countries and world regions based on their adoption of high-speed broadband.

Africa had a BDI score of 232 out of 1,000 at the end of 2015, with Central and Southern Asia being the only region to record a lower score.

Mauritius is the highest ranked African country in the BDI, with a score of 279 out of 1,000 at the end of 2015, followed by South Africa, Tunisia, Algeria, and Namibia.

The number of fixed broadband connections will also increase significantly, albeit from a very low base, hitting 19.97 million at the end of 2021 compared with 13.78 million at the end of 2016. Fibre and fixed LTE connections will see growth, with DSL however remaining the dominant fixed broadband technology.

Despite this projected growth, Africa still ranks second lowest among world regions in its broadband development, according to Ovum’s Broadband Development Index (BDI). The BDI measures countries and regions based on their adoption of high-speed broadband. Africa’s score of 232 out of 1,000 at the end of 2015 is ahead of only Central and Southern Asia.

 

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