Mobile phone penetration to surpass 80 percent in Q1 of 2013

Africa’s mobile penetration will jump to above 80 percent from the current 54 percent by early next year, aided by cheaper call and gadget prices, according to a new report by ABI Research.


The report highlights how more subscribers are getting on to the mobile network grid aided by fall of technology price and cheap mobile phone gadgets.

“In 3Q-2012, the 54 countries and 1.08 billion people have accumulated 821 million subscriptions, up 16.9% year-on-year, resulting in a cellular subscription penetration of 76.4%,” the report said. “In the first quarter of 2013, cellular penetration will eclipse 80%.”

“Subscriptions are still very much dominated by voice communications and text messaging in the form of GSM, with 62.7%. 3G subscriptions—both CDMA2000 and WCDMA—still only represent 11% of the overall African market, while 27% of the market still relies on 2.5G access technologies for mobile data access,” stated Jake Saunders, VP – Forecasting.

The report also forecast that the cellular market is expected to hit 1.12 billion subscribers, contributing 13.9 percent of the 8.11 billion global market.

The ABI Research report says that the ratios of prepaid plan are more popular in Africa due to the lack of access to credit card and banking facilities. “In South Africa, prepaid ratios for the operators range from 70% to 86% but most other countries prepaid ratios stand at over 95%, if not close to 99%.”

An earlier report by Informa Telecoms and Media said that mobile data would have more impact on telephony companies’ bottom line. This would contribute to about 22 percent of the revenues in Africa. Mobile data is still one of the fastest ways to connect most Africans to the internet, due to its low cost.

Here are how the telecom companies in Africa stand in terms of subscribers.

  • MTN Nigeria—43.2m subscriptions
  • Vodacom—37.7m subscriptions
  • Vodafone Egypt—37.5m subscriptions
  • MobiNil—32.4m subscriptions
  • MTN South Africa—23.5m subscriptions
  • Etisalat Misr—22.9m subscriptions
  • Glo Mobile—22.0m subscriptions
Posted in: Mobile

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