Growth is what analysts predict as far as the state of Africa’s telecommunication sector in 2014 is concerned.
Part of research conducted by Informa Telecoms & Media, entitled Africa Telecoms Outlook 2014: Maximising digital service opportunities, identifies mobile broadband and the increase in global connectivity as key drivers behind this projected growth.
According to statistics revealed in this research, there were 778 million mobile subscriptions in Africa by end June 2013 and the expectation is that the mobile-subscription count will reach one billion during 2015.
Contrary to what is being experienced in other regions, in Africa mobile voice revenues are expected to grow over the next few years. The research adds that annual mobile data revenues on the continent are expected to rise from US$8.53 billion in 2012 to US$23.16 billion in 2018.
Data accounted for 14.3% of mobile service revenues in Africa in 2012 but will account for 26.8% in 2018.
“The growth in data revenues in Africa is being driven by factors including: the continent’s new submarine and terrestrial cables; the rollout of mobile broadband networks; the increasing affordability of data devices; and economic growth. As well as facilitating a rise in data connectivity in Africa, these factors are creating a platform for a range of new digital services on the continent, such as mobile financial services, e-commerce and digital content and services for the business market,” states an excerpt from the study.
Researchers point to increased level of connectivity linking the continent to the rest of the world as a key driver behind the increased use of the Internet and data services across the continent.
The rollout and establishment of undersea cable systems, including WACS, EASSy and TEAMS, is also covered in the comprehensive report as critical supportive infrastructure facilitating this level of connectivity.
Moreover, there is reference made to the role played by telecommunication companies across the Continent in establishing data centres and networks, including fibre networks, to address capacity requirements.
The Central African Backbone project – at the heart of which is the development of a fibre optic internet backbone, supported by the World Bank, is mentioned as an effort to help develop and sustain international connectivity in countries like Cameroon, the Central African Republic and Chad.
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Chris Tredger – Online Editor