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By the end of 2013, Sub-Saharan Africa will have an estimated 11% mobile broadband penetration

March 5, 2013  »  StatisticsOne Comment

Last week, the International Telecommunications Union released an annual snapshot of ICT statistics. The data is grouped by continent and development status. There are no real surprises, but the key theme is growing mobile broadband access – although costs remain extremely restrictive.

A few points speak to Sub-Saharan African mobile and/or Internet trends:

  • There is an estimated 63% mobile-cellular penetration as of 2013
  • 16% of Africans are using the Internet
  • The Internet penetration rate in Africa is half that of Asia & Pacific
  • 7% of African households have Internet access
  • Annual household Internet access growth stands at 27%
  • fixed-broadband penetration rates are less than 1% in SSA
  • less than 10% of wired broadband subscriptions have speeds of 2 Mbit/s or more
  • mobile broadband penetration has increased from 2% in 2010 to 11% in 2013
  • A computer-based mobile broadband plan with 1GB of data costs more than 50% of Gross National Income (per capita)

By the end of 2013 there will be an estimated:

  • 93 million mobile broadband subscriptions
  • 11% mobile broadband penetration
  • 82% compound annual growth rate for mobile data plans

The ITU estimates for 2013 seem optimistic, but make sense if we go with an absolute 63% mobile-cellular penetration rate and a 16% Internet access rate then account for annual growth. Of course, broadband penetration does not equate to actual broadband use. And even broadband use does not mean a high level of content creation (more likely it means email and social media). In other words, 82% annual growth for mobile data plans is great, but ICT training is needed to support such growth.

Source: “The World in 2013: ICT Facts and Figures,” ITU, 2013. http://www.itu.int/ITU-D/ict/facts/material/ICTFactsFigures2013.pdf.