Revenue sources have expanded as mobile phones grow from being mere communication tools to become service delivery platforms
The Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) mobile market presents significant opportunities for telecommunication companies, device and module vendors, and application providers. With the SSA telecommunications market maturing, and mobile phones taking on the role of service delivery platforms, the region is proving to be extremely lucrative for players in the mobile ecosystem.
New analysis from Frost & Sullivan, Sub-Saharan African Mobile End-user Trends, expects the market to be on a strong upward trajectory as more than half the population has no access to a mobile phone. The mobile penetration in the region is expected to increase from 52 percent in 2012 to 79 percent in 2020. Overall, in terms of mobile phone usage, SSA will be the fastest growing region globally over the next seven years.
"The introduction of affordable smartphones, specifically designed for the African market, has improved the market scenario," said Frost & Sullivan Information & Communication Technologies Industry Analyst Joanita Roos. "Mobile broadband connections are now anticipated to quadruple from its 2012 figure to reach 160 million in 2016. This uptrend reflects the gradual change in consumer habits, as they gain their first Internet experience through a mobile device."
The key drivers that increase the uptake of mobile broadband internet in SSA include: the increased coverage of 3G networks, the rise of local content, and the development of a range of new apps. Mobile broadband is a tremendous driver in the mobile market as fixed lines throughout SSA are constrained by cost, coverage and reliability.
"As mobile devices start to gain popularity in SSA, other related end-user trends are also beginning to surface," added Roos. "For example, the large unbanked population and rural environment in the region is fuelling the use of mobile financial services. As a result, manufacturers are creating sustainable business models to leverage broadband in the mobile financial services market."
Going forward, the younger generation and youth in SSA are expected to drive the demand for mobile devices and services in the future. Furthermore, enterprise customers are demanding more advanced mobile services, such as fixed mobile convergence (FMC) and it is expected that enterprise segments will drive the growth in the subscriber base, as well as revenue generation in the short to medium term.