According to Analysys Mason, the African telecom market will grow on average by 6.7% during the next years. They also expect that mobile data usage will grow four times faster (19.6%) than mobile voice (4.7%), and smartphone penetration will grow to 26% in 2018. MVNO me&you mobile has already entered the market and also Huawei recognizes this opportunity and will ship 2 million devices to Sub-Saharan Africa.
Market analysts seem to agree that Africa is the rising star in the telco industry. GSMA predicts that 80% of the 800 million people in Sub-Saharan Africa will have a mobile device by 2020, two times more than today. A major reason for this trend is the growing popularity of OTT services and mobile banking. Informa forecasts that smartphone penetration in Africa will grow from 79 million units in 2012 to 412 million by 2018. According to a study of the Ericsson Consumerlab South Africans show a high smartphone dependency: 61% wants to remain connected online with other users, even when they are socializing with friends and family face-to-face. Among smartphone users, 83% use them to access the Internet on a daily basis.
A few vendors of mobile devices have also recognized Africa’s potential.Huawei’s CEO Steven Wu stated that the company expects to double smartphone shipments to South Africa to 2 million devices in 2015. Also, Huawei considers increasing its investments in other nations, such as Angola, Egypt, Mozambique, and Nigeria.
Some months ago MVNO ‘me&you mobile’ has entered the South African market, offering mobile voice and data services on a month-to-month basis. Me&you states that consumers are frustrated with expensive packages, complicated contracts that lock one in for 24 months, and poor customer service. The launch of me&you mobile is a good example that Sub-Saharan Africa is getting a mature smartphone market in which operators need to put their customers first and provide them with a seamless customer experience.