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Mobile Monday’s ‘Mobile Africa Report 2011’

April 9, 2011  »  Mobile5 Comments

At this point, it is becoming common knowledge that the mobile phone is leapfrogging all other forms of technology in Africa. With enormous growth rates (twice as many Kenyan mobile subscriptions existed at the end of 2009 as did in 2008), it has become difficult to know exactly how mobile habits stand in a given country at a given moment.

mobile monday africa report 2011

Click to read the report - a 1.2mb PDF {}

However, Mobile Monday (MoMo), “an open community platform of mobile industry visionaries, developers and influential individuals fostering brand neutral cooperation and cross-border P2P business opportunities”, has done an excellent job monitoring mobile’s successes. In fact, over the course of 11 years, 300 members have held events in 100 cities worldwide.

Recently, the organization published a 68-page report titled, “Mobile Africa Report 2011: Regional Hubs of Excellence and Innovation”. The report gives a detailed run-down of mobile investments listed by operator along with international alliances and deals and market dynamics. Another section provides insight into mobile apps. Many nuggets of data sourced from a dozen sources lie within the 68 pages, including:

  • more than 500mm mobile subscribers (double 2008)
  • carried by Nigeria, South Africa, Kenya, Ghana
  • 4mm mobile broadband subscribers expected as of Q1 2010 (1 year ago)
  • 24.5 Terabytes of cable capacity by 2011
  • median international wholesale bandwidth prices have fallen by more than 70% in many markets
  • mobile video content will generate much of the mobile traffic growth through 2015
  • By 2015 Sub-Saharan Africa will have more people with mobile access than with household electricity
  • Mobile Internet users should reach 138mm (~10% of population)
  • 39% of urban South Africans access the Internet from a mobile device
  • 0.2% of all web pages in the world were created by Africans
  • African mobile users are typical of the early adopter profile (young and male)
  • 3/4 of Kenya’s used mobile money by the end of 2010
  • 68% of the African population is expected to have a mobile phone within 5 years
  • key to driving mobile revenues is understanding how Africans use mobile
  • more mobile devices than people in Gabon, half this ratio is found in Sudan

The outlook for 2015 is exceedingly positive, but governments and operators still face the challenge of lowering costs enough such that the lower classes have Internet access. Additionally, Africans must make efforts to become content producers and not just mobile users.

  • hmmm…

  • Richard


    Just to clear some things up, Mobile Monday Joburg website is and not
    Also the statement “MoMo in South Africa has been supported by companies such as Cellsmart and Cap Gemini.” this is inaccurate as we have had many other supporters such as Google Umbono, Google Admob, eGrips, Blackberry/RIM and many others, Cellsmart has not been involved for over a year and I am not sure who Cap Gemini even is? – MOMO Joburg is independent and as such is not associated with any company or brand, we have sponsors who kindly cover costs of snacks, drinks etc. in exchange for some exposure, this is as per the MOMO purpose.

    Please could the people who compiled this report get in touch with us at Mobile Monday Joburg.

    Richard Walton
    Chairman – Mobile Monday Joburg

  • Richard

    Oh and BTW just from my personal view, there is a lot more happening in South Africa than the report actually makes out, it seems to me that Kenya and other countries up in Africa are seen as the “darlings” of Africa in terms of mobile innovation but as shown by the startups that presented and the turn out ( over 180 people ) at our recent MOMO Joburg event, mobile innovation is alive and well in South Africa!

  • Hi Richard,

    Thanks for the feedback and the clarifications about Mobile Monday Joburg vs. Mobile Monday at-large. It appears that this particular mobile report was released by the global team for their annual Africa Digital Summit held in Kenya last March. (I imagine some of the content caters to local attendees?) That said, I agree that a disproportionate share of attention floats toward Kenyan activity (iHub and Ushahidi always get love) – not that such a focus is bad.

    Personally, I’ve always been impressed with South Africa’s tech industry – when I first started following African tech I said “Well, South Africa is well-off compared to most of Africa, they don’t need as much attention as Central Africa.” Soon I found out the shortcomings of such an attitude…South Africa has some great initiatives and MOMO Tech sounds exciting!


  • Madanmohan Rao

    Richard, Tim and others –

    Thanks for your comments! I am the author of the report, and you can find my bio and email id towards the end of the report. Thanks for the URL correction; duly noted. The report does identify South Africa as a major mobile innovator and market leader, though the focus in this report has been larger on Kenya since the Digital Africa Summit (co-producer of the report) was held in Mombasa (previously held in Kampala and JoBurg).
    Looking forward to your inputs for next year’s report; thanks and cheers!

    – Madanmohan Rao