There Will Be More Than One Billion Mobile Phones in Africa…What Does This Mean?

Posted: March 18th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Around the World, Telecom Trends | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment »

A lot of telecommunications analysts have turned their sights toward the Middle East and Africa. That shouldn’t be a surprise, considering that, by 2016, analysts expect there to be more than one billion phones across the continent, with 991 million being feature phones. Indeed, Cisco expects that mobile data traffic growth will be fastest in this region.

It’s a particularly exciting time to watch these developments in Africa. The continent already has some of the highest mobile money payments in the world— in Kenya, Madagascar, Tanzania and Uganda, there are more mobile money bank accounts than traditional bank accounts.

All of these trends point to explosive mobile use and increased connectivity in Africa as a whole. So, what’s one of the biggest changes we can expect to see here?

A new boom in African creative industries

One significant shift that was highlighted at Mobile Web East Africa by tech website MemeBurn is occurring in television and literature. Traditionally, both of these industries have suffered from lack of art-based, educational programmes in schools and from a lack of resources.

The CEO of BuniTV and Buni Media, Marie Lora-Mungai, spoke at the conference and said that having mobile access to films will revolutionise the space. She hopes that filmmakers will be able to distribute their work much further than before and create pieces for mobile consumption.

Likewise, the vice president of marketing at BiNu, Mark Shoebridge, talked about how mobile will affect reading habits. At Mobile Web East Africa, he claimed that 70% of female readers who are using World Reader, an app for smartphones, are reading over a thousand screen pages.

How this is going to affect data use in Africa

I think it’s safe to say that 991 million feature phones are going to bring about a radical change in data use in Africa. As we’ve mentioned before, changing data use doesn’t just make for a better mobile experience, the increased connectivity enriches consumers’ lives.

Of course, there’s going to be a vast range of different needs among customers in Africa. Communications service providers (CSPs) will be hard-pressed to customise service packages and personalise their interactions to accommodate these trends.

Africa is in an interesting position because of the sheer diversity of needs when it comes to data. It’s happening fast, too. Last October, for example, more Nigerians accessed the Internet on mobile phones than on desktop computers.

To really meet the demands of the next decade’s mobile customers, CSPs will have to invest heavily in contextual analytics that can segment customers based on their individual behaviours when it comes to mobile data use. This way, no matter how vast the customer base or different the use cases, it’s possible to meet individual needs and prepare for the future.

Around the World

Posted: August 3rd, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Around the World | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Around the World

South Korea hits 100% mark in wireless broadband

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has found that South Korea is the first country to surpass 100% penetration for wireless broadband, with 100.6 subscriptions for every 100 inhabitants. To reach this conclusion, OECD analysed the standard mobile phone high-speed wireless Internet and data-only wireless Internet subscriptions. Additionally, the agency looked at its own data, which was based on the rate of high-speed Internet access versus the South Korean population.

The OECD is comprised of 34 countries, and based on the organisation’s metrics, the average domestic penetration percentage for high-Internet mobile wireless is 54.3%. Of this, Sweden comes in a close second to South Korea at 98 wireless broadband subscriptions per 100 inhabitants. The United States rated 76.1 followed by Finland at 87.8 and Japan at 82.4. Of the additional OECM member countries, the lower end included Mexico, at 7.7, Turkey at 8.9 and Hungary at 12.9.

The Guardian…
Superfast broadband will be available in 90% of UK by 2015, says Ed Vaizey

Britain’s culture minister Ed Vaizey has said that 90% of the country will have access to extremely fast broadband by the year 2015. The government is working to install an infrastructure that would both ensure the service’s longevity and enable consumers who want to connect to a “really, really fast” network to upgrade, if they choose.

Vaizey stated that when it comes to the speed of the network, “… most people define [superfast broadband] around the 35 megabits a second (Mbps) speed but we have said that 100% of the country should have access to 2Mbps. To put that in context, for example, if you want to watch the iPlayer on your computer you would need about 1-1.5Mbps.” To support this endeavor, a total of £1.2 billion has been dedicated to the project, plus additional funding for pockets of cities where broadband connection is poor.

However, a recent report by the House of Lords warned that the government’s broadband policy should shift its focus from delivering speed, and instead emphasise greater access through a national broadband network. After a six-month investigation, the committee concluded Britain would need a better overall broadband network in order to keep up with future technologies. It has raised concerns about Britain’s network, and the possibility of expanding the gap between those communities with fast Internet access and those without.

FierceBroadbandWireless and GigaOM…
ABI: Mobile data traffic growth to plummet below 50% after 2015
Mobile data growth rate to decrease by 2015? Doubtful.

A recent ABI Research report predicts mobile data traffic will soon level off, with 2015 being the last year that volume will grow by more than 50% annually. Although the rate of growth will start slowing down, the global mobile data traffic will exceed a whopping 107 exabytes by 2017. The forecasted slower growth rate is attributed to technology like Wi-Fi offload and more intelligent smartphones. For instance, on-demand video content will be increasingly viewed on non-cellular networks, such as Netflix’s iOS application, which utilises Wi-Fi.

GigaOM, however, argues this outlook may be flawed. Journalist Kevin Tofel points out that Cisco has estimated only 22% of mobile traffic will be delivered over Wi-Fi in 2016 – leaving a lot more for networks to handle. Tofel also says that as smartphones become more affordable and networks improve their service, it’s likely that mobile users will increase, thus accumulating more mobile data traffic. What do you think? Will mobile data traffic taper off as ABI predicted or does GigaOM have it right?