11 Oct 2010

Africa tops half billion subs in 3Q10

Mobile subscriptions passed the 500 million mark in Africa during 3Q10, according to the latest data from Informa Telecoms & Media. The continent’s mobile subscriptions grew by 18% year-on-year to over 506 million compared to 16% globally. With less than 50% SIM card penetration rate, Africa was still lagging behind all the other regions while the global penetration rate was 74% in 3Q10. Africa’s mobile subscriptions contributed to 10% of global subscriptions.

Growth is not restricted to the cellular voice market. There are signs that demand for data services is also increasing. The construction of a series of new submarine cables is bringing profound change by increasing the amount of international capacity available to the coasts of East and West Africa, and crucially bringing down costs. There is evidence too of the rise in usage of mobile value-added services. Informa estimates the size of the non-voice market to have been worth US$4.8 billion in 2009, with this figure set to rise in 2010 to in excess of US$5.5 billion. Data revenues now represent 9% of total service revenues.

An innovative response required from across the industry
Regulators are encouraging initiatives to bridge the digital divide between urban and rural Africa.  Mobile operators are transforming their business structures so as to focus more on what is core to operational delivery.  In response, vendors across the value chain are beginning to showcase solutions to meet the challenges of Africa’s telecoms landscape.

It is likely that service providers become more innovative by launching dynamic tariff plans, segmenting the market to deepen their value offering or by building brand through entering into partnership with content providers.  The use of data services is expected to continue to transform society, by connecting rural communities to ICT services, giving hundreds of millions of unbanked some financial muscle and providing a stronger technology infrastructure for the SME business segment.  All in the ICT value chain have their part to play in this ongoing transformation.

Business leaders join to set the way forward
It is these market changes that will form the backdrop to discussions and learning at Africa’s largest annual congress and exhibition – the 13th annual AfricaCom taking place in Cape Town on 10-11 November 2010.  4,000+ decision-makers from operators, solutions and technology providers serving across the continent will meet to collaborate in driving this new phase of growth.

The strategic congress will gather a select 2,000 business leaders from the attendee list for a 2 day programme of discussions and idea sharing around the broad outline of “Driving the Next Stage of Growth in African Telecoms“.  Sessions cover broad strategic answers to driving growth and predicting trends alongside more specific topics including: Efficiency and ROI Strategies; LTE; VAS; Marketing, Pricing and Loyalty; Mobile Money; Fibre Optics; Broadband Data Services; WiMAX; and Capacity & Wholesale. 
Africa’s telecom leaders reveal their strategies and ideas

Leading discussions at AfricaCom, are a panel of 100 of Africa’s most significant telecoms leaders including:
• Ahmad Farroukh, Vice President, MTN West and Central Africa
• Themba Khumalo, CEO, MTN Uganda
• Serame Taukobong, Chief Marketing Officer, MTN South Africa
• Marc Rennard, Executive Vice President for Africa, the Middle East & Asia, Orange Group
• Nkateko Nyoka, Chief Officer - Regulatory & Stakeholder Relations, Vodacom Group
• Wessel Van der Vyver, General Manger, Telecom Namibia International
• Mickael Ghossein, CEO, Orange Telkom Kenya
• Etienne Kouadio, Managing Director, Alink Telecom Cote D'Ivoire
• Jose dos Santos, CEO, Vodacom Mozambique
• Chiruyi Walingo, Chief Commercial Officer, Zain Tanzania
• Hussein Rifaii, Chairman & Managing Director, MDC
• Noel Herrity, CEO, Zantel Tanzania
• Serame Taukobong, Chief Marketing Officer, MTN South Africa
• Dr Angus Hay, Chief Technology Officer, Neotel South Africa
• Paul Edwards, Chairman, Starcomms Nigeria
• Nazar H Sahal, Information Technology Director, Expresso Telecom Group Ltd

International vendors rise to the challenge
Some of the world’s foremost solutions and technology providers have responded to market conditions and developed a portfolio and solutions and services that meet the challenges of Africa’s telecoms landscape.  The 250 stand market place exhibition at AfricaCom will showcase the cream of these companies to the 4,000 attendees.  This creates a unique opportunity for telcos from across Africa to see the full product offering in one place to help them make better technology decisions.

It is expected that this year’s AfricaCom will play a pivotal role in bringing the continent’s ICT value chain together to assist this ongoing market transformation.

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