There’s a Growing Pressure on African Mobile Operators to Become Innovators
Africa may well be the world’s premier mobile-first continent, but vast swathes of the population still don’t have mobile or internet connectivity. This is a severe limitation as local mobile networks plan out building a customer base, especially when the spending power of that base is low.
Yet these challenges place huge opportunities in the hands of the continent’s operators. Voice and SMS “still account for the largest share of revenues and have showed resilience to the threat of IP-based services, mostly due to low smartphone adoption,” says telecoms industry body GSMA’s 2016 Africa report (pdf).
The situation is changing as smartphone adoption jumps and access to mobile broadband networks rises. It means apps such as WhatsApp, Viber and Skype, along with local alternatives in some countries, feature more prominently as consumers switch to these services to save money.