Finally some 2012 Statistics for the African Mobile Phone Market

Back in March of 2009 I wrote a post entitled “Latest mobile phone statistics from Africa and what this means” based on a report that had come out from Blycroft Publishing tracking 2008 African mobile phone market stats. The findings back then were already profound, as were the overall anticipated trends. That post alone, to this day, still brings in a great deal of traffic to my blog (via Google of course). Clearly there is an appetite for information on this topic. As a result, I’ve also been getting numerous inquiries asking for more up to date info. I’ve been referring people to the publisher of the report in the interim, however I can finally say that the wait is over. The 2012 African Mobile Factbook can be downloaded here. Be patient with the little survey that you have to fill out to get it, it’s not exactly user friendly but it’s worth the effort.

Here are some key stats from the report that I found quite interesting:

  • Global mobile phone penetration is at 85% of the world’s population
  • There are currently 5.98 billion mobile phone subscriptions
  • Africa has about 644 Mn subscribers (about 11%)
  • LTE deployments in Africa are quickly gaining momentum (11 million customers predicted by 2015)
  • Smartphone penetration rates in Africa are now at a whopping 17 to 19 percent (that’s almost 1 in 5!)
  • The rest are split between either “feature” phones or basic “dumb” phones (albeit with SMS capability)
  • Commerce in Africa is dependant on mobile. Micro-entrepreneurship covers some 90 percent of the employment base and about 65 percent of the continental GDP
  • Some commentators are speculating that Africa will become the first post-PC region of the world
  • There are currently 5 major international cables in place providing bandwidth to the African continent
  • Despite the global recession and one of the lowest per-capita income levels in the world, BRICS counties and others are investing in Africa ahead of other markets
  • The following African states (terminology used in the report) have mobile phone penetration rates higher than 100%!!!
    • Seychelles
    • Botswana
    • South Africa
    • Morocco
    • Tunisia
    • Reunion-Mayotte
    • Gabon
Here’s a nice visual of the African Mobile Phone Market:

I’ll let you come up with your own take-away from this. Mine still stands more than ever (from my previous post). We are all in for a wake-up call as this continent connects and innovates (by necessity) in ways we can only imagine. I’ve already had the privilege of doing some work in Tanzania and witnessing first hand the empowerment these devices bring to everyday citizens. I look forward to seeing what the next few years will bring.

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