Mobile data represents 'biggest revenue opportunity' for Africa telecoms market

Mobile data Informa Africa telecomsInforma claimed that Africa's annual mobile revenues could reach US$18.5bn by 2016. (Image source: langleyo/flickr)Data revenues in Africa will reportedly account for 22 per cent of the region’s total mobile service revenues by 2016

According to an industry outlook survey completed by Informa Telecoms & Media, mobile broadband is currently the biggest single revenue opportunity in Africa.

The outlook echoes Informa’s predictions that the continent’s annual mobile data revenues would reach US$18.5bn by 2016, translating to 22 per cent of the region’s total mobile service revenues, compared to 12 per cent in 2011.

Nicholas Jotischky, principal analyst for emerging market analysis at Informa, said, “There is more depth to a mobile operator’s customer base in Africa than two or three years ago and, for this reason, mobile network operators (MNOs) need to gain a greater insight into their customers’ behaviour and offer them services that match their individual needs and preferences.

“Using this insight to design new business models that combine an MNO’s traditional capabilities (mobility, location) with Internet-style services (search, mapping) will enable a more compelling and personalised set of services to a wider variety of customer segments,” he added.

The results of the survey, which was commissioned for AfricaCom 2012, were published in the Africa Telecoms Outlook 2013: Seizing new revenue opportunities report at the event in November.

The survey indicated that mobile data growth would power a number of revenue opportunities. These opportunities would, according to 70 per cent of respondents, include the emergence of 4G technology. The results also suggested that giving mobility to broadband services would also give enterprises and SMEs the opportunity to benefit from more mobile working.

According to the survey, connecting Africa does however still pose a major challenge for MNOs. Even the cheapest mobile phone is still not affordable for many, with seven out of 10 respondents agreeing that more devices need to be made available and more affordable.

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