According to a recent research by mobile advertising network, Twinpine, mobile penetration is driving internet usage across West Africa and has grown significantly to reach penetration levels almost equal to fixed line use for the first time.
The study which was carried out in collaboration with Kenya-based iHub Research analysed mobile usage across Nigeria, Ghana and the Ivory Coast and found that mobile subscriptions in all three countries have more than doubled between 2007 and 2011, with the combined total now standing at over 130 million.
The report also revealed that in West Africa, mobile internet use has grown significantly in recent years to reach penetration levels almost equal to fixed line use for the first time. Citing some examples, the report shows that fixed internet usage stands at 28% compared to 26% for mobile internet usage in Nigeria, while in Ghana, fixed internet subscriptions are at 10% and mobile internet at 9%.
Yet, total internet usage is still below half of the total population in all countries studied, despite the growth in mobile, which is due to the lack of fixed line internet infrastructure across Africa, hence hindering internet adoption rates.
The research further shows that mobile internet penetration will continue to grow at pace in the next 12 months, and is expected to surpass fixed access by 2014.
The study believes that a key factor to drive this growth is the phenomenal uptake of smartphones by young people who are accessing the internet and largely using social networks such as Facebook from various devices.