‘Two-thirds of Africans using mobile phones now’

Mobile Use in Africa - Ken Banks - FlickrMobile phones are now used by 67 per cent of people in Africa. (Image source: Ken Banks/Flickr)A new study reports that 67 per cent of an estimated 1.13bn people living in Africa are now using mobile phones

The report, Content Building in the Digital Era, was prepared by the StarTimes Group and was presented at the fifth annual African Digital TV Development Seminar held in Beijing, China last week. It specifies that almost 20 per cent of the approximately 725mn mobile phones on the continent are smartphones. The report also said that about 300mn people, which is more than a quarter of the continent’s population, are connected to the Internet, with more than 50mn people using Facebook.

Michael Dearham, vice-president for media at StarTimes Group and contributor to the report, said that the increasing penetration of mobile phones in Africa provides huge opportunities for content development as well as other marketing activities, which have the potential to increase incomes and create new jobs.

An earlier report from GSM Association (GSMA) predicts that 80 per cent of the population in sub-Saharan Africa will be using mobile phones by the end of this decade and expects the industry to contribute more than US$100bn to the economy of the region by 2020. The GSMA report also spoke of the need for both network operators and smartphone manufacturers to continue keeping the entry barriers low by keeping the costs down, in order to see significant growth in the sector.

According to another report, the latest version of the Ericsson Mobility Report, GSM/EDGE-only subscriptions will dominate the sub-Saharan Africa market till 2020, given the high number of lower income subscribers who will continue to use 2G-enabled devices.

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