Africa’s mobile phone industry ‘booming’

People chatting on mobile phones in Ivory Coast (June 2009)Africa is the fastest-growing mobile market in the world, and is the biggest after Asia, an association of worldwide mobile phone operators has said.

The number of subscribers on the continent has grown almost 20% each year for the past five years, the GSM Association report on Africa says.It expects there will be more than 735 million subscribers by the end of 2012.

Analysts say bad and expensive landline connections in Africa are responsible for the high mobile phone usage.

Peter Lyons, GSMA’s director of spectrum policy for Africa and Middle East, told the BBC that mobile penetration in Africa had reached 649 million subscribers in the fourth quarter of 2011.

Tax cuts

“That is equivalent to a 65% penetration rate. Out of every 100 people, 65 have some form of mobile connectivity,” he told the BBC’s Focus on Africa programme.

In a report, GSMA says that 96% of subscriptions are pre-paid with voice services currently dominating, although uptake of data services is increasing steadily.

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