The mobile economy - Sub-Saharan Africa 2014: GSMA (Report)

Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) has been the fastest growing region over the last five years, in terms of both unique subscribers and connections. By June 2014, there were 329 million unique subscribers, equivalent to a penetration rate of 38%.

Consumers, governments and businesses across SSA are rapidly adopting mobile, not only as a basic communication tool, but also to access information and a growing range of new applications and services. As of June 2014, there were 608 million connections in SSA, including seven million machine-to-machine (M2M) connections.

SSA is forecast to remain the fastest growing region going forward, helped by ongoing economic growth and the increasing affordability of mobile services. The unique subscriber base will grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7% out to 2020, reaching just over half a billion subscribers.

The region is now seeing a rapid technology migration to higher speed networks, helped by the growing range of lower-cost devices and ongoing network deployments by the operators. 3G connections accounted for only 15% of the total base at the end of 2013, a figure that will rise to more than half by 2020. SSA will then be the second largest region for 3G connections by 2020, behind only the highly-populated Asia-Pacific region.

The increasing proportion of 3G connections largely reflects the accelerating rate of smartphone adoption. SSA is forecast to see the highest growth of any region in terms of the number of smartphone connections over the next six years. There will be 525 million smartphone connections in the region by 2020, accounting for more than half of the total connection base at that date.

The growing adoption of smartphones along with other data-capable devices such as tablets and dongles is in turn driving an explosion in data traffic. SSA’s mobile data traffic is forecast to see a twentyfold increase from 2013 to 2019, around twice the global growth rate.

Operators across SSA have seen strong growth in revenues over recent years, driven in particular by the increase in the number of connections and subscribers. Revenues grew at a CAGR of 7% per annum over the period 2008-13, by some way the fastest growth of any region. Growth rates are set to slow slightly going forward, but increasing data traffic will see revenue growth remain at a healthy 5.6% out to 2020.

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The Mobile Economy – Sub-Saharan Africa 2014: GSMA
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Source: The Mobile Economy Sub-Saharan Africa 2014 | GSMA