Africa is now the world’s second largest mobile market by connections after Asia according to a new report released this month by the GSMA. The Africa Mobile Observatory 2011 report states that mobile penetration has reached 649 million connections across the continent, which has seen the number of subscribers rise by an incredible 20 percent each year over the past five years.
And while the number of connections may be huge, around 96 percent of subscriptions are only pre-paid voice services meaning there is still massive potential for growth within the continent for data services. In fact 36 percent of Africans within the 25 largest African mobile markets have no access to mobile services. The GSMA estimates that if mobile operators could reach 100 percent they would be able to add more than $35 billion to Africa’s overall GDP. And how could they do this? Well the GSMA believes that cutting taxes applied to the mobile industry in many African countries would be a start. Kenya has seen a 200 percent increase in the number of handsets sold over the past two years since it abolished the 16 percent sales tax on them in 2009. But whatever African governments decide to do the mobile industry in the continent will continue to grow, and rapidly, with the number of mobile subscriptions expected to hit the one billion mark by 2016.
As you’d expect the world’s top mobile operators haven’t failed to recognise the African boom with France Telecom claiming it will increase revenue in Africa to €7 billion from €4 billion within five years. While last month Vodafone Ghana released figures showing a 32.5 percent growth in half-year service revenue for 2011 – not bad for a company that has only been in active in Ghana for two years.
So if you want to learn about all the latest mobile opportunities in Africa and beyond make sure you don’t miss out on the GSMA Mobile World Conference held in 27 February – 1 March 2012 in Barcelona. For the best hotels, rented apartments and other accommodation choices contact EAS, your local travel agents. With our expert knowledge and experience we’ll make sure you have an unforgettable stay. And we’ll even sort out your transportation and nightly entertainment. Click on this link to fill in our request form.