According to an ITU report on Telecommunication/ICT Markets and Trends in Africa, out of 1.1 billion internet users worldwide in 2006, Africa had 44 million or 3.8%. At the same point in time, while the world had 281 million broadband subscribers, Africa registered 1 million or about 0.4%.
In Asia the numbers stood at 104 million, 89 million in Europe and 80 million in the Americas. Growth in this sector has been hampered by high tarrifs and limited computer literacy.
Mobile telephony on the other hand has seen great advances in the last decade with significant year-on-year growth in penetration with subscribers per 100 inhabitants of 22.0. In 2006, Africa’s share stood at 7.2% of the 1.1 billion mobile subscribers.
The Telecommunication market in Africa is on the up-tick with a number of undersea fibre optic cable projects underway (SEACOM, TEAMS and EASSY) and increased competition among mobile service providers.
With mobile telephony currently outpacing growth in other ICT services, could the future (short-term, at least) of ICT in Africa be in wireless?