Africa crosses 500 million mobile subs mark

Broadband access is still unaffordable in many emerging markets

The number of active mobile subscriptions in Africa crossed the half billion mark in the third quarter of 2010, to reach 506 million at the end of September, according to research by Informa Telecoms & Media.

At the end of the quarter, Africa accounted for 10 per cent of the world’s mobile subscriptions and was one of the world’s fastest-growing regions – with subscription numbers increasing 18 per cent over the year to September – as a result of the still low mobile penetration rate on the continent as well as demand for new services, such as mobile internet access, that increase the need for telecoms connectivity.

“Although the rate of growth in mobile subscriptions in Africa will slow as markets mature, the continent continues to offer great opportunities for investors in the voice segment in under-penetrated markets and also in the non-voice segments with mobile broadband and mobile-money services taking off,” said Thecla Mbongue, senior analyst at Informa.

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