MOBILE AFRICA STUDY FORECASTS SUBSCRIBER BASE TO TRIPLE WITH NIGERIA, SOUTH AFRICA, EGYPT AND MOROCCO LEADING IN MARKET SIZE
London, 22nd January 2007 - A new report researched by BroadGroup, the London based consultancy group, reveals that mobile subscribers across the continent will almost triple in the period through to 2011, with the largest markets represented by Nigeria, South Africa, Egypt and Morocco. The report is being launched at the Emerging Markets Summit. The report, Mobile Africa, is in two sections - a market report including player profiles, forecasts and demographics of each of the 51 African countries covered, and a mobile tariffs report analysing prices offered by key operators across the continent. Growth in mobile phone ownership in Africa has been rapid, with the number of cellular phone subscribers increasing to more than 188 million by the end of 2006. The report indicates that the increase in mobile penetration across the continent now equates to approximately 20 per cent of the population (of more than 922 million). Yet the report suggests that the African market is already consolidating, a trend that will accelerate following a spate of acquisitions led by MTC Group who have developed a unique pan-African play through its acquisition of Celtel, MTN, and South Africa's mobile operator Vodacom. Balanced against the value of mobile phones as the singular tool for economic empowerment, Africa represents a series of unique challenges including a higher level of investment requirement, rural area deployment which are typically underserved existing incumbents, and immature distribution channels. The market is also predominantly prepaid and average ARPU is declining across Africa to as low as USD 3. But there is considerable variation between countries. 'We see rapid continued growth across the continent with some countries even achieving 100% subscriber penetration seen in mature economies,' commented Keith Breed, research director at BroadGroup. 'Our research suggests that Africa is on the way to becoming one of the world's most important mobile economies by the end of 2011, almost tripling the subscriber base today.' 'Africa is witnessing innovative services and pricing such as banking and credit transfer, especially in competitive markets' commented Margrit Sessions, managing director of BroadGroup Tariff Services, 'but the key changes are represented by the launch of lower entry points, through top-ups, scratch cards, credit transfers and e-top-ups; the lowest price at present is USD 0.41 for an e-top-up, and these price levels are helping to enfranchise a broader customer base.'