This report provides 126 statistical tables for the fixed-line communications activities for the major 38 African countries. Included are statistics for infrastructure and the major pan-African companies operating within Africa.
Researcher: Peter Lange
Current publication date:- May 2010 (8th Edition)
Next publication date:- May 2011
While being the world’s most rapidly growing market for mobile telephony, Africa is also home to some of the fastest growing fixed-line markets in the world. The continent still has some of the world’s lowest penetration rates in both market sectors.
The difficulties of rolling out fixed-line networks across its vast land mass have meant that by early-2010 mobile users constituted more than 90% of all African telephone subscribers. However, as lower income groups are being targeted, a price-sensitive market for lower-cost fixed or limited-mobility services is emerging.
A surge in demand for Internet access and broadband capabilities is accelerating this fixed-line renaissance in some of Africa's more advanced markets. Despite reasonable growth of the traditional fixed-line markets in some countries, subscriber access to both voice and data services is shifting more and more to fixed-wireless solutions as a substitute for inadequate fixed-line infrastructure.
For over 60 operators in around 40 countries in Africa, CDMA-2000 has been the technology of choice to provide fixed-wireless access. It supports full mobility, and converged licensing regimes are now allowing many of these operators to move into the lucrative mobile sector. WiMAX technology, however, offers higher data rates and is quickly gaining ground in Africa with well over 100 networks already in operation.
The landing of several new international fibre optic submarine cables in Africa in 2009 and 2010 – in many countries for the first time ever – has led to massive investments into terrestrial fibre backbone infrastructure to take the new bandwidth to population centres in the interior and across borders into landlocked countries. Prior to this, backbone network infrastructure across the continent was largely substituted by microwave radio relay and satellite links, with the associated limitations in capacity, quality of service and high cost. However, both technologies will continue to play a significant role in reaching Africa's extensive rural and remote areas.
Despite the global economic crisis, foreign investor interest has remained high in Africa’s telecoms sector as market liberalisation continues, national telcos are being privatised and new operating licenses issued.
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