Mobile phone access in Africa set to double in next five years

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Eighty percent of sub-Saharan Africa’s 800 million people should have access to mobile telephones by the end of the decade, double the current rate, although government help is needed to reach far-flung areas, industry body group GSMA said Wednesday.

The growth of mobile data – an even more powerful economic tool than simple voice services – also hinges on authorities allocating sufficient spectrum, said Mortimer Hope, the Africa director of GSMA.

“We expect data to keep growing dramatically, and to facilitate that you need more spectrum to handle that data growth,” he told Reuters on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum Africa in Cape Town.

To unleash the full potential of mobile Internet services, he said, governments should also consider cutting taxes on web-enabled handsets to make them more affordable to consumers on the poorest continent.

At the moment about 15 percent of Africans have access to the Internet via their mobile phones.

Source: Reuters (link opens in a new window)