This report provides 408 statistical tables showing trends and developments in the telecommunications markets of the 38 most significant African countries in terms of telecommunications.
Researcher:- Peter Lange
Current publication date:- May 2009 (7th Edition)
Next publication date:- May 2010
Africa’s telecommunications markets are dominated by mobile phone networks which provide around 90% of all subscriber connections. The subscriber base is still growing at around 40% per year across the continent, but the growth curves are beginning to flatten in the continent's more mature markets, forcing operators to compete more aggressively on price, quality of service and by introducing new services. However, enormous further potential remains, with overall market penetration only standing at around 40% while the first African countries have recently broken the 100% barrier.
With their superior national coverage and large subscriber bases compared to the fixed-line networks, Africa’s mobile operators have built up a level of market power to the extent that they have been called ‘the new incumbents’. However, newly introduced converged licensing regimes are now allowing many old national telcos and other second tier players to enter the lucrative mobile market as well, but they also allow the mobile operators to branch out into new service segments.
Due to Africa’s poor fixed-line infrastructure, the mobile networks are beginning to play an increasing role in Internet service provision, following the launch of 3G broadband services in a growing number of markets – a welcome new revenue stream in an almost entirely prepaid environment of low ARPU levels. Mobile ARPU has bottomed in many markets, rising again with mobile data services and streamlined operations.
International bandwidth is extremely expensive in Africa because access to international submarine fibre optic cables has been monopolised by national telcos in most countries, while others depend entirely on satellite bandwidth. This is expected to change dramatically with the arrival of several new international cables to the continent’s shores from 2009. To accommodate the growing data traffic, national fibre backbone networks are being rolled out at an increasing pace.
Data in this report is the latest available at the time of preparation and may not be for the current year.
The following notes provide some background to our scenario forecasting methodology:
· This report includes what we term scenario forecasts. By describing long-range scenarios we identify a band within which we expect market growth to occur. The associated text describes what we see as the most likely growth trend within this band.
· The projections shown in the tables in this report are based on our own historical information, as well as on telecommunication sector statistics from official and non-official, national and international sources. We assume a possible deviation of 15-20% around this data.
· All statistics for GDP, revenue, etc are shown in US$, in order to maintain consistency within and between markets. At the same time we acknowledge that this can introduce some irregularities.