Presently, Nigeria’s connected lines as at September 2011, according to the Nigerian Communications Commission stood at 107.6 million for the GSM operators, while the Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) operators stood at 12.4 million.
Out of the 107.6 million connected lines for GSM operators, the active lines stood at 84.4 million, with the CDMAs’ ending September with a total active line of 5.22 million. In all, the installed capacity of the sector stood at 162.7 million with a teledensity of 66.8 per cent.
With Nigeria taking the lead, Egypt is expected to hold onto its position as Africa’s second-biggest mobile market, with a forecast of 118.03 million subscriptions by the end-2016. South Africa, the continent’s third largest mobile market, would have 80.56 million mobile subscriptions by the same period.
Interestingly, this charge in Africa, according to a survey conducted by Informa and Telecoms media, is being fuelled by dual Subscribers Identification Module (SIM) ownership.
According to Informa and Telecoms media in the survey obtained by The Guardian, informed that Africa has become the second most connected region in the world in terms of mobile subscription count, up from fourth place at end of 2010.
The survey revealed that, there were over 616 million mobile subscriptions in Africa at the end of September 2011, which means that the mobile market on the continent is second only to Asia-Pacific in terms of mobile subscription numbers.
It stated that, Africa’s mobile-subscription count overtook that of Western Europe during 2Q11 and then overtook the Americas in 3Q11. Besides, it explained that, at the end of 2010, less than a year ago, Africa was only the fourth largest regional mobile market by subscriptions, coming after Asia-Pacific, Western Europe and the Americas.
“The combination in Africa of a still relatively immature telecoms market with factors including population growth, strong competition among providers and the increasing affordability of mobile devices, explains Africa’s move up the regional mobile-market rankings as well as its strong growth forecast.
“Africa’s mobile market is heading towards a major landmark: the number of mobile subscriptions on the continent will cross the one billion mark in 2016 according to our latest forecast”, said Head of mobile research for the Middle East and Africa at Informa Telecoms & Media, Matthew Reed.
Reed said Africa will retain its position as the second biggest regional mobile market by subscriptions forecasts for the coming five years. However, he noted that, there is a strong trend for Africa mobile subscribers to have multiple SIM cards and consequently the number of unique users of mobile services on the continent is smaller than the number of subscriptions. The number of unique users in Africa at end-2016 is projected to be 572.35 million.
According to him, “Nigeria will continue to be Africa’s biggest mobile market by subscriptions, with a projected 152.09 million subscriptions at end-2016. Egypt will hold onto its position as Africa’s second-biggest mobile market, with a forecasted 118.03 million subscriptions at end-2016. South Africa, the continent’s third largest mobile market, will have 80.56 million mobile subscriptions at end-2016.”
The survey further said that, Africa is projected to have a mobile penetration rate of 86.92 per cent at end-2016, still lower than in other regions.
It stated that, 3G (WCDMA) subscriptions and market share in Africa will grow strongly over the coming years. The mobile-market-share held by WCDMA is forecast to rise from 6.6 per cent at end-2011 to 46 per cent at end of 2016, almost equalling GSM’s market-share of 47.5 per cent at end-2016.
The survey noted that, as the African market matures, the retention of existing customers is becoming increasingly important.
Informa Telecoms & Media, which delved into the views of African operators on customer loyalty found that 21.8 per cent of respondents ranked customer retention as their main priority while 18.2 per cent said it was customer acquisition, and 60 per cent said that customer retention and customer acquisition were equally important.
This issue of mobile subscription growth and possibility of expansion would be a major topic for discussion at the Africa Com event in Cape Town, South Africa, which begins today.