Growth opportunities in Africa and the Middle East


Some of Africa's more advanced mobile phone markets are now approaching saturation levels after having seen amazing subscriber growth in the past decade. However, there are still markets out there with penetration rates way below the regional average, with enormous growth potential remaining even for basic voice services. These growth opportunities do, however, come at the expense of risks that these markets also pose to foreign investors.

The more advanced markets are standing at the beginning of a second massive growth wave: Broadband services, which, due to the poor fixed network infrastructure in most African countries will again mostly see the mobile network operators as the beneficiaries, although fixed-line telcos also have an opportunity as operators of the required fibre optic backbone network infrastructure, both domestic and international.

This infrastructure is already more developed in the Middle East, where a growing number of operators are launching fourth generation LTE services in a bid to take advantage of a burgeoning digital economy.

Table of Contents

  • 1. Synopsis
  • 2. Africa
  • 3. The Middle East
  • 4. Related reports
  • Table 1 – Top 5 African mobile broadband markets
  • Table 2 – LTE in the Middle East, operators – November 2012
  • Chart 1 – ICT-IA index rating and composition for the Top 5 African markets
  • Chart 2 – Mobile subscriptions and SIM card penetration rate in Somalia – 2002 - 2012

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Paul, Many thanks for your inputs yesterday. You provided a compelling different perspective to our traditional infrastructure focus and this is valuable for our future planning. I also had very favourable feedback from our participants on your involvement.

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