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.
Sub-Saharan Africa is experiencing robust growth in number of unique mobile subscribers, number of connections, and penetration rates
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
- Mobile contributes $110 billion to Sub-Saharan African economies: Mats Granryd, Director General, GSMA
- Africa tops 500M mobile users, adds $150B to economy (Infographic)
- A few things we learned about tech hubs in Africa: GSMA (Infographic)
- Smartphone boom will drive African data explosion: Shameel Joosub, CEO, Vodacom Group (Video)
- Visa launches mobile money service mVisa to rival Safaricom’s M-PESA
- 4G connectivity could drive a new era of productivity for African entrepreneurs
- Sub-Saharan Africa will have half a billion mobile subscribers by 2020
- Virgin, Vodacom and BUA Group eye former Etisalat Nigeria unit
- Africa fast off blocks in adopting Internet of Things (IoT)
- Banks Vie for a Piece of Africa’s Mobile Banking Market
- Smartphone boom on the horizon for sub-Saharan Africa
- The mobile economy – Africa 2016: GSMA (Infographics & Report)
- Disrupting mobile banking in Kenya: Slim SIMs
- Sub-Saharan Africa is the world’s fastest-growing mobile region
- Mobile money in Africa: The next generation
- Rwanda – A new model for growth (Infographic & Report): This Is Africa & the Financial Times
- Church business goes digital in Africa
- Safaricom’s M-PESA has Kenya’s government worried what happens in the event of a crash (Infographic)
- South Africa Entertainment and Media Outlook including Nigeria & Kenya (2013 – 2017): PwC (Report)
- Nigeria – Racing ahead with ambitious infrastructure plans: This is Africa/Financial Times (Infographic & Report)
- MTN is doubling down on broadband in Nigeria even as its record fine looms (Infographic)
- Africa’s smartphone market is on the rise as affordable handsets spur growth (Infographic)
- Kenyan banks are closing in on what they think will be the perfect M-PESA disruptor (Infographic)
- Fact of the Day: Africa to pass 1 billion mobile subscriptions by end of 2016, says Ovum (Infographic)
- Smile Communications awards Ericsson its 1st 4G/LTE contract in Sub-Saharan Africa
- IHS Towers and Etisalat enter sale and lease back agreement on Nigeria’s 2,136 tower portfolio
- Samsung to invest in South African plant to capitalize on Africa, the world’s fastest-growing mobile phone market
- Kenyans to trade government bonds from their mobile phones
- More Nigerians are embracing electronic payments (Infographics)
- The next Kenya? Tanzania’s mobile money revolution (Infographic)
- Why Kenya’s Equity Bank Felt It Had to Become a Telco – Reluctantly
- Nigeria Targets Country-Wide Broadband Access by 2020
- Nigeria telecom giant MTN fined a record $5.2B
- MTN may have a new competitor in South Africa (Infographic)
- Ethiopia launches 4G mobile service in Addis Ababa
- Nigeria money transfer company Paga raises $13M in series B financing
- Telkom said to mull phone tower network sale in South Africa
- M-Pesa, Safaricom, Kenya regulators and Vodacom could be about to open up mobile money in Africa
- What Africa’s banking sector needs to do to survive: Ndubuisi Ekekwe, Founder, African Institution of Technology
- First Bank partners with Etisalat Nigeria on mobile money