|The report reviewed the telecommunications market of Africa and revealed that the data revenue in the continent will be more than double in 2024 from $14.91 billion in 2019 to $31.42 billion in 2024 / Photo by: ra2studio via Shutterstock|
The mobile data revenue in Africa will increase from $54.31 billion (R804 billion) this year to $67.12 billion (R994 billion) in 2024. This is based on market research firm Ovum’s Africa Digital Outlook 2019 report.
Africa’s Mobile Data Revenue Forecast
The report reviewed the telecommunications market of Africa and revealed that the data revenue in the continent will be more than double in 2024 from $14.91 billion in 2019 to $31.42 billion in 2024. Such a growth rate is significantly faster compared to voice calls. Yet, because of the continued importance of voice calling and the overall mobile market growth, there are major telecommunication operators in Africa that believe in the continued growth of revenue in mobile voice. Some of these telecommunication companies are MTN and Airtel.
Ovum’s practice leader Matthew Reed said via African-based telecom and technology news platform ITWeb Africa that Ovum is expecting the mobile data revenue in the continent to increase modestly and decline after the end of the forecast period. He added that service providers in Africa are experiencing strong growth in their revenue from digital services and data access. One of the popular digital services in the continent is mobile money.
Telecommunications Market and Mobile Subscriptions in Africa
Since average income in Africa is typically low, having affordable data-enabled devices is a contributing factor for such growth in the telecommunications market. Other important growth segments are financial services and mobile broadband. In 2017, the number of mobile subscriptions in the continent even passed the one billion mark and reached nearly 1.07 billion in June this year. Ovum likewise mentioned the mobile population penetration rate is at 82.6 percent. This signifies that the service, product, or brand reached more people in a certain period.
|Since average income in Africa is typically low, having affordable data-enabled devices is a contributing factor for such growth in the telecommunications market / Photo by: i_am_zews via Shutterstock|
Largest Mobile Markets by Subscription in 2Q19
The most populous country in Africa is Nigeria. Based on the Ovum Digital Outlook report, it is a country that has the biggest mobile market by subscriptions in the second quarter of 2019 with 170 million mobile subscriptions, 82.3 percent mobile subscription penetration rate, and 65.3 percent mobile broadband penetration rate. South Africa is the next biggest market with 104.3 million mobile subscriptions, 186.0 percent mobile subscription penetration rate, and 85 percent mobile broadband penetration rate.
The third biggest market is Egypt with 93.8 million mobile subscriptions (95.8 percent; 58.6 percent) followed by Kenya with 50.2 million mobile subscriptions (99.8 percent; 30.7 percent). Included in the list of the top 10 largest mobile markets by subscriptions in Africa are Algeria (47.5 million mobile subscriptions), Morocco (45.2 million mobile subscriptions), Tanzania (43.8 million mobile subscriptions), Ethiopia (41.9 million mobile subscriptions), Ghana (41.5 million mobile subscriptions), and DR Congo (34.9 million mobile subscriptions).
Ovum went on to state that as service providers in Africa will be expanding their mobile broadband networks and services and smart gadgets will be more affordable, there will be about 1.08 billion mobile broadband connections in the continent in 2024.
3G W-CDMA Connections
The 3G W-CDMA connections in Africa will also increase, which is contrary to what is expected in other parts of the world that will experience a decline. The 3G W-CDMA is a third-generation technology that uses 5 MHz bandwidth. The Africa Digital Outlook 2019 shows that 85.3 percent of the mobile broadband connections in the continent were attributed to W-CDMA during the second quarter this year while LTE also accounted for 14.2 percent of the total connections. The market share of 2G GSM only accounted for 42.9 percent of the continent’s mobile connections in the same quarter.
However, it is forecasted that the mobile LTE connection in Africa will increase at a rapid rate at the end of this year and will reach 336 million by 2024. Reed pointed out how both telecom Orange and MTN have already unveiled a smart feature in phones that utilize the Kai operating system (KaiOS). One of the biggest phone brands in Africa, Tecno, was also mentioned in the report and is offering people affordable smartphones with features customized to the market, such as having long-life batteries.
|The 3G W-CDMA connections in Africa will also increase, which is contrary to what is expected in other parts of the world that will experience a decline. The 3G W-CDMA is a third-generation technology that uses 5 MHz bandwidth / Photo by: Surachet Meewaew via Shutterstock|
Comparing the Mobile Broadband Subscriptions in OECD Nations
Mobile broadband subscriptions are mobile subscriptions that advertise data speeds of 256 kbit/s or greater, explains intergovernmental economic organization Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. By subscribing, users can access the Internet and make use of their data connection through an internet protocol.
OECD moreover details the number of mobile broadband subscriptions in different countries in Q4 2018. It includes the United States with 144 mobile broadband subscriptions per 100 inhabitants, Canada 76 subscriptions, Mexico 71 subscriptions, Colombia 52 subscriptions, Chile 91 subscriptions, Korea 113 subscriptions, Japan 172 subscriptions, Australia 129 subscriptions, New Zealand 98 subscriptions, Iceland 119 subscriptions, Ireland 103 subscriptions, Netherlands 116 subscriptions, Norway 100 subscriptions, Sweden 124 subscriptions, Finland 157 subscriptions, Estonia 149 subscriptions, Latvia 130 subscriptions, Lithuania 101 subscriptions, Germany 83 subscriptions, and Luxembourg 93 subscriptions, among others.
Digital development is happening in Africa. If this continues, having reliable, secure, and accessible internet will help reduce inequalities and close the digital gap in the continent. It can also drive innovation, job creation, and economic growth because of greater interconnection in different African markets.