2010 African Fixed and Wireless Broadband and Internet Markets

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Last updated: 3 Aug 2010 Update History

Report Status: Archived

Report Pages: 253

Analyst: Peter Lange

Publication Overview

The countries covered in this report include: Algeria, Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Cote d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritius, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Tunisia, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

This annual report offers a wealth of information on the Internet and broadband markets in 38 African countries, including fixed and wireless access technologies and services. Subjects covered include: 

  • Key Statistics;
  • Market overviews and analyses;
  • Major Internet service providers (ISP);
  • ADSL;
  • WiMAX;
  • WiFi;
  • CDMA-2000 1x EV-DO;
  • Other services. 

Researcher:- Peter Lange
Current publication date:- August 2010 (5th Edition)
Next publication date:- August 2011

Executive Summary

The Broadbanding of a Continent

Large parts of Africa gained access to international fibre bandwidth for the first time via submarine cables in 2009 and 2010. In other parts of the continent, additional fibre systems have brought competition to a previously monopolised market. More cables are expected to go online in 2011. This 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.

Africa’s Internet and broadband sector is set to benefit the most from these developments. Wholesale prices for Internet bandwidth have come down by as much as 90% from previous levels based on satellite access, and the cost savings are slowly being passed on to the retail level as well. Broadband is rapidly replacing dial-up as the preferred access method, and this process is already virtually completed in the continent's more developed markets.

Most African countries now have commercial DSL services, but their growth is limited by the poor geographical reach of the fixed-line networks. Improvements in Internet access have therefore been mostly confined to the capital cities so far. However, the rapid spread of mobile data and third-generation (3G) broadband services is changing this, with the mobile networks bringing Internet access to many areas outside of the main cities for the first time.

Many fixed-line incumbents have reacted by rolling out fixed-wireless access networks to expand their geographical reach. The technology of choice has been CDMA-2000 which supports broadband data rates with an upgrade to EV-DO standard. WiMAX technology, however, offers higher data rates and has gained ground in Africa with well over 100 networks already in operation.

Market highlights:

  • Key statistics for 38 African countries;
  • Profiles of major Internet service providers (ISP);
  • Overview of ADSL services with pricing comparisons;
  • Over 50 CDMA-2000 network rollouts in progress, many supporting EV-DO broadband;
  • Over 100 WiMAX networks in operation.

Top ten African Internet user communities – early-2010


Internet users (million)

Market penetration













South Africa


















(Source: BuddeComm based on ITU data)

Mobile data and third generation (3G) mobile broadband services are covered in a separate report: see African Mobile Broadband, Data and Mobile Media Market. These technologies are increasingly being used as a substitute for poor or non-existing fixed-line infrastructure in Africa. In vast parts of the continent, the mobile network operators are the only providers of any kind of telecommunication service apart from satellite services. As subscriber growth peaks, many of them have established themselves as ISPs and are playing an increasing role in the broadband sector, competing directly with fixed broadband services such as DSL – a welcome new revenue stream in an environment of shrinking average revenue per user (ARPU) in the voice market.

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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