Africa has registered one of the highest annual growth rates in global mobile subscribers over the last decade.
According to the 2008 ITU ICT Indicators report, Africa..
has some 280 million total telephone subscribers, of which some 260 million (over 85%) are mobile cellular subscribers, representing the continent with the highest ratio of mobile to total telephone subscribers of any region in the world.
is the region with the highest mobile cellular growth rate (worldwide). Growth over the past 5 years averages almost 65% year on year.
Combine these statistics with the expectation that SEACOM fiber cable will arrive at the East African Coast in a few short months, along with the three other fiber projects – TEAMS, EASSy & Reliance-KDN still in progress, and the prospect of further growth and provision of broadband and other value-added services becoming available to the large pool of mobile subscribers comes closer to reality.
This anticipated growth is highlighted in Cisco’s recently updated Visual Networking Index, indicating that the Middle East & Africa region is forecast to have a 133% compound annual growth rate in mobile data traffic through 2013.
Also, that video will account for about 64% of all mobile data traffic by 2013.
Mobile subscribers are growing rapidly and bandwidth demand due to data/video is increasing.
The next five years are projected to provide unabated mobile video adoption despite the economic downturn. Operators are rolling out increased bandwidth via EDGE, EV-DO, HSDPA, and related upgrades.
Safaricom seems to be reading from this same script as they are now placing more focus on mobile data traffic.
To take full advantage of this increased bandwidth provision, however, mobile subscribers will need to upgrade to the more capable 3G (and higher) – enabled handsets, so it is highly likely that the market for the iPhone, Blackberry and perhaps the G1 models will only increase in these emerging markets.