2009 Africa - Mobile Voice and Data Communications Statistics (tables only)

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Last updated: 26 May 2010 Update History

Report Status: Archived

Report Pages: 93

Analyst: Peter Lange

Publication Overview

This report provides 215 statistical tables for the mobile voice and data communications activities for the major 38 African countries. Full details are given elsewhere in the annual reports listed at the end of the Contents section.


Researcher:- Peter Lange

Current publication date:- January 2010 (8th Edition)

Next publication date:- January 2011

Executive Summary

Mobile phone networks dominate Africa’s telecommunications markets, providing around 90% of all subscriber connections. The subscriber base is still growing at around 30% per year across the continent, but the growth curves have begun 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, further subscriber growth potential remains, with overall market penetration standing at only around 45% while the first African countries have broken the 100% barrier.


With their superior national coverage and large subscriber bases compared with 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’. Many of them are building national fibre backbone networks rivalling those of the fixed-line incumbents. However, newly introduced converged licensing regimes are now also allowing many old national telcos and other second tier players to enter the lucrative mobile market, but they also allow the mobile operators to branch out into new service segments.


Due to Africa’s limited fixed-line infrastructure, the mobile networks are beginning to play an increasing role in Internet service provision, following the launch of third-generation (3G and 3.5G) mobile broadband services in a growing number of markets. Mobile payment and banking services are revolutionising Africa’s banking sector where only a small percentage of the population has access to conventional bank accounts.


These new services provide welcome new revenue streams in an almost entirely prepaid environment of low average revenue per user (ARPU) levels. Mobile ARPU has bottomed in some African markets, rising again on the back of mobile data services and streamlined operations, but in others it has fallen to new lows due to price wars between a sometimes unsustainable numbers of licensed competing networks. The future is likely to bring some consolidation to the most crowded markets.


Data in this report is the latest available at the time of preparation and may not be for the current year.

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