A view of the African telecommunications market - the reality

Jim Machi : Industry Insight
Jim Machi

A view of the African telecommunications market - the reality

Dialogic has a long and rich history in the African telecommunications market.  We value our business and customers in the region and estimate our products are deployed in over 80% of the countries on the continent.  On the eve of AfricaCom 2012 we look at the state and evolution of the African telecommunications market via a series of blogs in this space today, November 13th, and November 20th.

All emerging markets have the potential for explosive growth, and the African telecommunications market is starting to deliver on its immense promise.  Undersea cables are bringing world-class connectivity, fiber is being deployed into and on the continent, thus delivering higher broadband speeds than before,  it is the fastest growing mobile market in the world, has the highest growth rate for international wholesale voice minutes and innovative and useful mobile value-added services are being rolled out by the operators.  Those are all excellent and useful metrics that show the market is delivering on at least some of the promise.  However, there is still a ways to go before African telecommunications truly enters the “internet” age.

As this graph from the ITU shows, Africa lags the world in internet bandwidth (bits/second) per internet user.  It’s been getting better, but overall it lags.

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One reason for this could be huge amounts of internet users, but Africa also lags the world in fixed and mobile broadband subscriptions per 100 inhabitants.  So it’s clearly not huge amounts of internet users.  It’s the speed of the pipes. Next week I will look at what is being done to address this.

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