Mobile Monday’s ‘Mobile Africa Report 2011’
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.
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.