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Africa to reach one billion mobile broadband subscriptions by 2020
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Tue, 01 Dec 2015 15:36
Africa Market Outlook, 2014–20

The number of mobile broadband connections in Africa will reach one billion in 2020, up from 147 million at the end of 2014, according to new forecasts by independent analyst and consultancy firm Ovum.

The rapid growth of mobile broadband in Africa over the next few years will be driven by factors such as the on-going rollout of 3G W-CDMA and 4G LTE networks on the continent and the increasing affordability of smartphones and other data devices.

As a result, mobile broadband will account for an increasingly substantial share of the overall mobile market in Africa. Mobile broadband accounted for just 17% of the 884 million total mobile subscriptions in Africa at end-2014, but mobile broadband is forecasted to account for 76% of the total of 1.32 billion mobile subscriptions in Africa at end-2020. The number of total mobile subscriptions in Africa is expected to cross the one billion mark during 2016.

Africa’s fixed-broadband market is also set to grow strongly, albeit from a low base, as operators on the continent step up their deployments of wireless and fibre networks for home and business broadband. The number of FTTH/B subscriptions in Africa will rise from about 166 000 at end-2014 to 1.2 million at end-2020, forecasts Ovum.

“Although the pace of growth in overall connection numbers in Africa has slowed and the regional industry is facing some headwinds from rising competition and weaker economic conditions, there are substantial growth opportunities on the continent in data connectivity as well as in digital services that are based on those data connections,” said Matthew Reed, practice leader for Middle East & Africa at Ovum.

As African operators look to develop digital services, the Digital Media Opportunity Index: Sub-Saharan Africa, a new research tool published by Ovum, reveals that South Africa has the most favourable market among the 20 countries surveyed for digital media content such as apps, digital music, digital publishing, OTT video, and video gaming.

South Africa ranks highest on the Index with a score of 4.35 out of 5. South Africa is followed in the digital media opportunity rankings by Angola, Kenya, Nigeria and Ghana.

“The South African market is among the most advanced on the continent, so it is to be expected that it leads in potential for digital media services. Nevertheless, the Index shows that there are digital media opportunities across the continent,” commented Reed.



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