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African 3G subscriptions to reach 210 million by the end of 2015: ABI

TT Correspondent | 04 Sep 2013

According to research firm ABI, at the end of 2Q-2013, the total subscriptions in Africa reached 863 million, a strong growth of 9.3% year-on-year (YoY), which is substantially more robust than other regions around the world.

Africa’s growth trajectory will continue up to 2018, with a CAGR of 6.6%, to reach 1.25 billion. “What’s more, due to the lower comparative 3G penetration of 13.8% in Africa at the end of 2013, ABI Research forecasts that Africa 3G subscriptions will grow rapidly from 114 million in 2013 to 210 million by 2015,” comments Marina Lu, research associate at ABI Research.

While the vast majority of African countries are still in the process of extending and enhancing their 3G networks, some major African markets, such as South Africa, Ghana, and Nigeria have launched 4G networks, notching up 0.2 million LTE subscriptions by the end of Q2-2013. “Mobile voice revenues are still a key revenue generator for African mobile operators but the growing momentum behind mobile data services is providing a wider stimulus for entrepreneurship, healthcare, and just as crucially, education,” adds Jake Saunders, VP and practice director of core forecasting.

“By the end of 2018, Africa is expected to gain 51.2 million LTE subscriptions, demonstrating a CAGR of 118%.”

In terms of growth in African mobile subscriptions by carrier, Nigeria is proving to be the market to be in. MTN Nigeria is not only the fastest growing mobile operator in Africa but also the largest. Remarkably, the operator increased its subscriber base by 10 million YoY, to reach 53 million.

The study says that this growth in adoptions is a result of significant tariff reductions made in Q3-2012 that made it substantially more affordable for low income end-users to take up mobile phone services. The second and the third fastest growing mobile operators in Africa were also based in Nigeria: Zain Nigeria, 5.4 million YoY; and EMTS with subscription growth of 2.9 million.