2 Billion Consumers Worldwide to Get Smart(phones) by 2016

The number of smartphone users worldwide will surpass 2 billion in 2016, according to new figures from eMarketer—after nearly getting there in 2015. Next year, there will be over 1.91 billion smartphone users across the globe, a figure that will increase another 12.6% to near 2.16 billion in 2016.

For the first time, more than one-quarter of the global population will use smartphones in 2015, and by 2018, eMarketer estimates, over one-third of consumers worldwide, or more than 2.56 billion people, will do so. That 2018 figure also represents over half—51.7%—of all mobile phone users, meaning that feature phones will have finally become a minority in the telecommunications world.

Inexpensive smartphones are opening new opportunities for marketing and commerce in emerging markets where many consumers previously had no access to the internet. Meanwhile, in mature, established markets, smartphones are quickly shifting the paradigm for consumer media usage and impressing the need for marketers to become more mobile-centric. Read more

Africa’s five fastest-growing technology companies

The Deloitte Technology Fast50 Africa initiative is an award that recognises the continent’s fastest-growing technology companies in terms of revenue. David Mwanambuyu looks at 2014’s top five winners. Read more

Safaricom launches Kenya’s first 4G Internet services

Safaricom launched Kenya’s first fourth-generation (4G) Internet services on Thursday, seeking to capitalise on burgeoning mobile Internet use in the country.

The government of the east African nation of 40 million people wants the use of 4G high-speed broadband network to help raise the Internet’s contribution to economic growth to 10 percent in 2017 from about 3 percent this year.

Safaricom – Kenya’s largest telecoms phone firm – saw web data revenue rise by more than half in the six months to September.

The 4G service is a central part of its attempts to further expand its data business to counter slower growth in voice calls revenue.

The operator, 40 percent-owned by Britain’s Vodafone, signed a 15 billion shilling ($166 million) deal with the government last month to build a national security and surveillance system, and was offered the chance to buy the 4G radio spectrum – or frequencies – as part of the agreement.

Africa: 18 African Nations Ahead of Nigeria in ICT Development

Although Nigeria has emerged as the largest economy in Africa and the 26th biggest in the world going by the recent rebasing of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP), coupled with its enormous oil resources, 18 countries in the continent however, ranked higher than it in terms of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) growth.

While Nigeria has been adjudged as the largest ICT market in Africa, with growth in number of mobile phone subscriptions to the tune of about 184 million connected lines out of which about 135 million are active and about 95 per cent teledensity, the country is far below countries including Mauritius, Egypt, South Africa, Cape Verde, Tunisia, Seychelles, Morocco, Sudan among others in terms of ICT development going by findings from the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) ICT Development Index (IDI) report. Read more