Africa to reach 1 bn mobile broadband connections by 2022

Mobile broadband connections will rise thanks to affordable smartphones, rollout of high-speed networks and digital services by African operators

Mobile broadband connections in Africa will rise from 419 million at the end of this year to 1.07 billion by the end of 2022 thanks to affordable smartphones and rollout of high-speed networks. 

Ovum forecasts that total mobile revenue in Africa will increase at a CAGR of 4.8% between 2016 and 2022, to reach $69.36bn in 2022. The composition of mobile revenue in Africa will change significantly too, with non-SMS data revenue set to grow at a CAGR of 25.1% over the 2016–22 period, whereas SMS revenue will decline by 4% CAGR over the same period, and mobile voice revenue will decline by 2.9% CAGR. Non-SMS data accounted for 16.4% of mobile revenue in Africa in 2016, but it is expected to account for 47.5% in 2022.

“Data connectivity is growing strongly in Africa, and there are also good prospects on the continent in areas such as digital media, mobile financial services and the Internet of Things,” said Matthew Reed, Practice Leader Middle East and Africa at Ovum.

 Top 10 Mobile Broadband Operators in Africa:

Sl. No. – Operator – Country – Q2 2017 Subscribers (in mn) 

1. Vodacom – South Africa – 22.57

2. MTN – South Africa – 22.09

3. Vodafone – Egypt – 18.25 

4. Globacom – Nigeria – 16.91 

5. MTN – Nigeria – 16.61 

6. Airtel – Nigeria – 14.67

7. Orange – Egypt – 10.48 

8. Ethio Telecom – Ethiopia – 8.76 

9. Safaricom – Kenya – 7.72 

10. Etisalat – Egypt – 6.87

Source: Ovum  

“But as Africa’s TMT market becomes more convergent and complex, service providers are under increasing pressure to make the transition from being providers of communications services, and to become providers of digital services,” added Reed. 

African operators are also looking to implement digital strategies, including the deployment of new, digital services that build on the growth in data connectivity. Mobile financial services (MFS) have proved to be the most successful category of digital service on the continent so far, but there have also been developments in e-commerce, digital content, and the Internet of Things (IoT).


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