Sub-Saharan Africa still fastest growing mobile region

November 11, 2013
People queue outside a mobile phone stand in Lagos, on August 18, 2008

Sub-Saharan Africa is set to remain the world's fastest growing mobile market in the coming years, an industry report said Monday.

According to the GSM Association, the region's number of unique subscribers stood at 253 million in June this year and is set to hit 346 million by 2017.

"Despite the astonishing progress of the industry in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) in recent years, the biggest impact of mobile in Africa is yet to come," the report said.

"Roughly two thirds of the population are still without a mobile subscription, leaving much room for growth."

The region's number of mobile users have grown by 18 percent annually over the past five years but penetration is the lowest in the world at close to 31 percent.

"This highlights the long-term growth potential of the region," said the GSMA.

The continent's economic powerhouse South Africa's has 66 percent penetration, while the continent's biggest population Nigeria has reached 30 percent.

The global average is nearly one in two users, and four out of five in the European Union.

But while growth rates are slowing elsewhere, in sub-Saharan Africa this is set to remain at almost twice the global average.

In sub-Saharan Africa, 95 percent of users are on prepaid plans.

"Incremental subscriber growth will come almost entirely from rural and lower income populations, reinforcing the need to further improve the affordability of mobile services and to extend network coverage," said the GSMA.

Lowering taxes on mobile usage and phones was also highlighted in the report "Mobile Economy: Sub-Saharan Africa 2013".

The sector's contribution to GDP is the highest in the world and is set to rise to over eight percent by 2020, said the report.

Explore further: Industry says Africa fastest growing mobile market

Related Stories

Africa: the new pot of gold for mobile telecoms

December 6, 2011

Africa's lag in land-based telecoms infrastructure has propelled the continent directly into the mobile age, opening up short-term growth prospects unparalleled in the world.

Mobile industry sees 4 bn subscribers by 2018

February 25, 2013

The $1.0-trillion (750-million-euro) global mobile industry predicted Monday a boom in subscribers to four billion people by 2018 as the world's largest mobile fair opened in Barcelona, Spain.

Recommended for you

How to curb emissions? Put a price on carbon

September 3, 2015

Literally putting a price on carbon pollution and other greenhouse gasses is the best approach for nurturing the rapid growth of renewable energy and reducing emissions.

Customizing 3-D printing

September 3, 2015

The technology behind 3-D printing is growing more and more common, but the ability to create designs for it is not. Any but the simplest designs require expertise with computer-aided design (CAD) applications, and even for ...

Team develops targeted drug delivery to lung

September 2, 2015

Researchers from Columbia Engineering and Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC) have developed a new method that can target delivery of very small volumes of drugs into the lung. Their approach, in which micro-liters ...

Magnetic fields provide a new way to communicate wirelessly

September 1, 2015

Electrical engineers at the University of California, San Diego demonstrated a new wireless communication technique that works by sending magnetic signals through the human body. The new technology could offer a lower power ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.