This report provides 280 statistical tables and 27 charts for the fixed-line, Internet and broadband activities for the major 42 African countries. Full details are given elsewhere in the annual reports listed at the end of the Table of Contents section.
Researcher: Peter Lange
Current publication date:- December 2012 (10th Edition)
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. Roughly half of the continent's 54 countries had positive growth in the fixed-line sector in 2011 and at least seven of them saw double digit growth rates, while in some of the other markets fixed lines are rapidly being replaced by mobile phones. However, as lower income groups are being targeted, a price-sensitive market for lower-cost fixed or limited-mobility services has emerged, and a surge in demand for internet access and broadband capabilities is accelerating this fixed-line renaissance.
Problems with vandalism and copper theft have led many telcos to substitute traditional fixed lines with fixed-wireless solutions for both voice and data services. For over 50 operators across Africa, CDMA-2000 has been the technology of choice for this market segment, which supports broadband data rates with an upgrade to EV-DO standard. It also supports full mobility, and converged licensing regimes in a growing number of countries are now allowing these operators to move into the mobile sector as well. Foreign investors are scrambling for positions in this very lucrative market as liberalisation continues, national telcos are being privatised and new operating licenses issued.
Large parts of Africa have gained access to international fibre bandwidth for the first time via submarine cables in recent years. In other parts of the continent, additional fibre systems have brought competition to a previously monopolised market. 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. However, satellite will continue to play a significant role in reaching Africa's extensive rural and remote areas.
Internet and broadband
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 were therefore mostly confined to the capital cities initially. However, the rapid spread of third and fourth generation mobile broadband services is changing this, with the mobile networks bringing internet access to many areas outside of the main cities for the first time. WiMAX and meshed WiFi technology has also gained ground in Africa with well over 100 networks providing wireless broadband access.
Data in this report is the latest available at the time of preparation and may not be for the current year.
Could I thank you for making a contribution to this on so many occasions and declare my association with you as a Central Coast resident. I want to say how proud we are of you and how much your expertise has informed us.
Senator Deborah O’Neill, at the Select Senate Committee on the NBN – March 2014
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