Africa to spend $18.5bn on mobile data by 2016

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Mobile data is about to explode on the African continent. In fact, it could represent as much as US$18.5-billion in revenue across the continent by 2016.

Research company Informa Telecoms & Media reckons that number will see mobile data account for around 22% of mobile revenue in Africa.

This growth, it says will power a number of revenue opportunities:

Giving mobility to broadband services will empower enterprises and especially SMEs to benefit from more mobile working thereby generating greater business agility.

As the research company points out though, some problems just won’t go away. Despite a rapidly growing middle class, even the cheapest mobile phones will remain out of reach to some people in Africa.

One way of lessening this problem is for operators to use their buying power and distribution networks to make more devices available and for device manufacturers need to make more affordable devices.

But if the mobile operators are going to be fast-tracked into change, there have to be more players in the game and they have to listen to what their customers are saying.

“There is more depth to a mobile operator’s customer base in Africa than two or three years ago and, for this reason, MNOs need to gain a greater insight into their customers’ behavior and offer them services that match their individual needs and preferences,” says Nick Jotischky, principal analyst for emerging market analysis at Informa Telecoms & Media.

“Using this insight to design new business models that combine an MNO’s traditional capabilities (mobility, location) with Internet-style services (search, mapping) will enable a more compelling and personalized set of services to a wider variety of customer segments”, he adds.

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