Bharti Airtel predicts smartphone data usage increase

Airtel BangloreThe number of mobile phone users in Africa that are using data on their handsets is set to double. (Image source: Rameshng)Bharti Airtel has announced that data usage in Africa will rise after more than doubling year-on-year in June

Mobile phone users in urban Africa are opting to use data on Internet-enabled handsets because of declining prices, according to research conducted by McKinsey & Co.

“We do not expect this rate of growth to show any significant change in the short-to-medium term,” said Andre Beyers, chief marketing officer of Nairobi-based Airtel Africa.

“If anything, with the further increase in smartphone penetration, our continuous expanding coverage and some more exciting products, this growth rate might even further improve.”

According to Beyers, Airtel Africa has implemented 3G across its African network and so far 14 out of the 17 nations have connection speeds of as much as 42 megabits per second.

Around 25 per cent of smartphone owners in Africa access the Internet daily and more than half at least once a month, the company said.

“We have seen tremendous growth in most of our markets, but the growth in markets such as Nigeria, Tanzania, Uganda and Burkina Faso is really pleasing,” Beyers, 48, said.

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