Africa now has more than 500 million mobile users, says report

Mobile users in Africa has exceeded 500 million users, according to the latest report by industry body, GSMA, the definitive source of global mobile operator data, analysis and forecasts.

According to the GSMA’s newly released “The Mobile Economy: Africa 2016” report, there were 557 million unique mobile subscribers across Africa at the end of 2015, equivalent to 46% of the continent’s population, with the region’s three dominant markets — Egypt, Nigeria and South Africa — together accounting for around a third of the region’s total subscriber base.

Other keynotes in the report include:

  • Subscribers across Africa are increasingly migrating to mobile broadband services, driven by network roll-outs and mobile operator device and data strategies.
  • Mobile broadband (3G/4G) accounted for just over a quarter of total connections at the end of 2015, but is expected to account for almost two-thirds by 2020.
  • The number of smartphone connections in Africa is forecast to more than triple over the next five years, rising from 226m in 2015 to 720m by 2020.
  • Mobile is the platform of choice for digital transformation in Africa as there are approximately 310 active tech
    hubs across the region, including 180 accelerators or incubators. The range of tech start-ups funded in recent years and the size of deals reflect the accelerating development of the tech start-up ecosystem
  • The use of mobile technologies and services across Africa generated $153bn in economic value in 2015, equivalent to 6,7% of the region’s GDP. This is expected to increase to $214bn by 2020 (7.6% of expected GDP)

The report also estimated that over the next five years, an additional 168 million people will be connected by mobile services across Africa, reaching 725 million unique subscribers by 2020 (accounting for 54%).

It further noted that eight markets will account for the majority of this growth, most notably Nigeria, Ethiopia and Tanzania, which will together contribute more than a third of new subscribers.

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