“It’s critical for Africa to get onto a decent playing field so that we have proper connectivity, high enough speeds that we can use video on demand, so that we can use advanced services,” Ian Duvenage, head of ICT for Africa at Frost & Sullivan, told CNBC Africa.
“It’s [Africa] so remote and so many companies from outside South Africa are starting to transact here – corporates are starting to require that, as a base connectivity, and that then feeds into the cities.”
According to the GSM Association, the mobile industry contributes six per cent to sub-Saharan Africa’s GDP and the market itself sees no signs of slowing down with the continent’s smartphone market expected to double in the next four years.
Sub-Saharan Africa is also expected to remain the world’s fastest growing market, with its unique subscribers likely to hit 346 million by 2017.
“If we look at some of the countries and the actual penetration rate in them, which is still very low in Africa, there’s still massive scope for growth. We’re seeing influxes of investment in Africa so there is money floating around,” Duvenage indicated.
“The economies are growing the middle class is growing. Operators are definitely starting to get smarter in how they interact with the consumer. We expect that to last for quite a while.”
Duvenage added that going forward, there is going to be a lot happening in the convergence space in sub-Saharan Africa as well.
“Not just in convergence between technology operators but banks moving into becoming operators themselves. If that starts happening then you can start seeing real cross-selling between industries,” he explained.
“They’ll start challenging the operators on their revenue streams because they’ll then offer mobile payments, for instance, at competitive rates whereas the mobile operators at the moment are just out pricing themselves.”