Advertise with

Africa accesses internet by cellphone
Africa accesses internet by cellphone

Africa accesses internet by cellphone


Business Day - Nov 14th 2011, 08:13

Research firm Informa Telecoms & Media says one fifth of internet traffic in Africa will be carried by cellular networks by 2015 

Global research firm Informa Telecoms & Media said last week a fifth of internet traffic in Africa would be carried by cellular networks by 2015, compared with a global equivalent of just 3%.

Infrastructure investment in high speed third-generation networks has soared in recent years, making mobile operators the main providers of internet services in Africa.

Informa’s report, Broadband in Africa, assesses the progress towards the goals set at the Connect Africa Summit in 2007 and includes an industry survey.

In SA, MTN, Vodacom , Cell C, Neotel and Telkom are spending billions of rand to upgrade and in some areas roll out high-speed mobile networks to cater for the demand for data services.

Informa expects the broadband experience in Africa to become increasingly nomadic with the number of connections over cellular networks exceeding 250-million by the end of 2015, compared with 15-million fixed connections, of which 70% will be digital subscriber line, a fixed-line high-speed data network.

Co-author Matthew Reed, head of mobile research for the Middle East and Africa at Informa, said a combination of public and private investment, regulatory action, competition and technological innovation had made telecoms services in general more widely available to a greater range of the population. "There is no room for complacency though — devices and services are still prohibitively expensive for the poorest, terrestrial cabling remains undeveloped and mobile network coverage is often sparse or nonexistent in some rural areas."

Informa said significant problems still faced the industry as it tried to expand broadband rollout.

The five most widely articulated problems, according to the respondents, were cost of expansion; insufficient connectivity or backhaul; cost of retail broadband services; cost of international bandwidth; and low PC penetration.

Co-author Nicholas Jotischky said Connect Africa should not just be judged against its ambitious goals, but by how much private and public investment it had encouraged and whether regulators had become more proactive in forcing widespread broadband access. It should also be judged against whether governments are choosing to engage more with their citizens and transform internal processes with the help of various e-services.

The relaxation of licensing, allocation of more spectrum and cheaper retail broadband services can all play a large part in accelerating Africa’s entry into a high-speed internet age and become a fully fledged knowledge economy.

Peter Lyons, director of spectrum policy, Africa and Middle East, at GSMA, an association representing mobile network operators worldwide, said that to take full advantage of their potential, African countries needed to allocate more spectrum for the provision of mobile broadband services, and introduce tax cuts for the industry.

"By doing so, they will increase consumption of mobile services, thereby boosting their economic and social development," he said.  

Related News

A Woolworths window display wins big in London
18/06/2019 - 11:34
A Woolworths window display that incorporated milk bottles and plastic hangers has snapped up a prestigious global award.

Five things you need to know about the pharmaceutical industry
14/06/2019 - 11:10
The pharmaceutical sector - both locally and globally - is following suite with general retail and going through uncertain times. More consumers are shopping the basics with baskets of necessities only. As CEO of the Shoprite Group, Pieter Engelbrecht, said in response to their interim results (which speak for the average South African), “In the external operating environment, economic conditions have left the group's core customer under significant financial pressure.”

The problem with influencer marketing
13/06/2019 - 15:16
Brands looking to embark on or develop an influencer marketing strategy need to think carefully about their choice of person and how believable the message is. That warning has been sounded by Anne Dolinschek, founder of specialist agency Nflu#ntial.

Six steps to successful customer relationship management
11/06/2019 - 15:24
More than ever, businesses are looking for powerful ways to promote their goods and activate more sales. This should include beefing up customer relationship management (CMR) systems to streamline communication with potential clients and encourage more sales. Here are six steps to sprucing up your CRM and captivating customers at every touch point along the way.

Brand champions, ambassadors and advocates
11/06/2019 - 14:55
Paying people to promote brands has long been a contentious – and confusing – issue in the industry. There is confusion around the terminology, what they’re actually called, and controversy and cynicism about whether it’s an effective way to market a brand or not.