500 Million users of mobile phones in Africa
The second largest continent Africa with underdeveloped infrastructures has made a tremendous gain in the usage of mobile phones with more than half-billion subscribers. This was revealed at the yearly AfricaCom conference by Informa Telecoms & Media in South Africa which coincided with the 25th anniversary of mobile telephone usage in Africa.
“At the end of the third quarter of this year, according to Informa, African mobile users accounted for 10% of the global mobile subscriber base. It had seen 18% growth in the 12 months up to the end of September. While several African countries have passed 100% penetration in terms of number of subscriptions, the continent as a whole is now at 48.35%.”
Thecla Mbongue, Johannesburg based Senior Analyst at Informa Telecoms & Media, said, “Although the rate of growth in mobile subscriptions in Africa will slow as markets mature, the continent continues to offer great opportunities for investors in the voice segment in under-penetrated markets and also in the non-voice segments with mobile broadband and mobile-money services taking off,”
“By 2015, there will be 265 million mobile broadband subscriptions in Africa, a huge increase from the current figure of about 12 million, and accounting for 31.5% of the total of 842 million mobile subscriptions that the continent will have in five years’ time, according to forecasts by Informa Telecoms & Media. There will be almost 360 million users of mobile-money services on the continent by 2014.”
“Africa, a continent that’s highly diverse with nations that are well off while others maintain the same living standards that people had several centuries ago, has just crossed an impressive threshold. There are now over half a billion mobile subscriptions, giving people such rich services as mobile banking, reminders to take medication to treat AIDS and malaria, and so much more. Africa accounts for 10% of all mobile subscriptions and the amount of users they have grew 18% year over year. All of this is thanks to companies like Nokia who build handsets like the 1280, one of the cheapest mobile phones on the market, as well as Vodafone with their 150 and 250 models that can be had for less than $20.”
Africa is progressing gradually in areas of innovations and technology inspite of all the existential problems confronting the continent. The acceptance and quick growth of mobile phone business buttress that Africa is poise for technological renaissance. Even with the paucity of energy to power phone installments and technology, Africans turn to plant generators, batteries and solar panels to ease the inadequacy of electricity.
The introduction of mobile phone has come with tremendous advantages. It has helped to promote energy conservation and management of time. A farmer and trader do not have to undertake an unnecessary journey without first making a phone call thus saving time and money. Without doubt, mobile phone promotes commerce but at same time it makes life easier because one can reach out and touch.