The number of mobile subscribers in Africa will reach almost 800 million by 2015, with east and central Africa set to be the regions responsible for the highest growth in mobile subscriptions in the world over the next five years.
According to South Africa based Standard Bank Group, there were 15 million mobile subscriptions in Africa in 2000, by the end of 2010 there were over 500 million and by 2015 it is believed there will be almost 800 million.
“Over the next five years east and central Africa will enjoy the highest mobile subscription growth rates in the world. Already, Nigeria is the world‟s tenth-largest mobile market,” said research analyst Simon Freemantle.
He added that there are currently around 120 million internet users in Africa, and while penetration is relatively low, growth rates have been profound.
“Between 2000 and 2011, internet usage in Africa grew by 2,527 per cent, compared to a world average of 480 per cent. Since 2000, Algeria has seen internet users increase from 50,000 to 4.7 million, and Nigeria from 200,000 to 44 million. Much of this growth has been inspired by elevated mobile penetration,” he said.
The group also credited Africa for pioneered innovative ICT solutions. It said that challenging market conditions in Africa have necessitated innovative approaches to unlocking opportunities in the mobile space, such as money transfer services.
“It is believed there will be 350 million African mobile money subscribers by 2015—up from virtually zero in 2007. Safaricom’s M-Pesa system has led the charge: in 2010, 14 million Kenyans transferred $7bn, through M-Pesa,” said Freemantle.