While broadband penetration in African countries has rather been slow, with a majority of countries recording penetration levels of less than five percent, mobile communications is on the rise. According to Frost & Sullivan’s latest analysis of sub-Saharan African countries, there is a steady uptake of mobile communications in these countries and they are poised to witness an appreciable growth of mobile, broadband and Internet services over the next four to five years.
The new Frost & Sullivan’s Sub-Saharan African Communications Quantitative Quarterly Tracker Q3 2012 finds that the market had 181.7 million mobile and fixed telephony subscribers and 29.8 million Internet subscribers in 2010. It is now estimated to reach 266.1 million mobile and fixed telephony subscribers and 77.5 million Internet subscribers in 2017. The market watcher says that this expansion will be driven primarily by demand and uptake of mobile voice and internet services.
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In a statement, Frost & Sullivan's Information & Communication Technologies Business Unit leader for Africa, Chantel Lindeman, said, "The growth of voice and internet markets in Africa is expected to be driven by a decline in retail price for these services."
"Operators in the region are investing significantly in mobile infrastructure, including base stations and transmission networks. This is expected to result in the availability of higher network capacity at lower cost, with operators spurring growth by passing savings in network costs to the end users of services," added Lindeman.
As per this study, the operators are investing in shared terrestrial fiber optic infrastructure to increase transmission capacities and connect end users to undersea cables. They are also adopting infrastructure sharing at base stations to minimize the overall cost of delivering services to end users. Additionally, the study shows that cost minimization is likely to translate to lower retail prices of voice and Internet services, which in turn will drive growth.
The analyst is suggesting that operators must learn from experiences in the mobile growth in African countries, such as Kenya, which has seen remarkable growth.
Edited by Brooke Neuman