Sub-Saharan Africa’s telecoms service market will be worth US$51 billion in 2021 and the retail telecoms revenue in the region will grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 4.1 percent between 2015 and 2021, according to research by Analysys Mason.

According to Karim Yaici, Senior Analyst at Analysys Mason, mobile services will represent more than 88.4 percent of the telecoms service revenue in 2021 – driven by population growth, expansion into rural areas and a high demand for mobile data services.

While mobile voice will remain a key revenue contributor, the statistics indicated that connections and traffic are likely to increase, as well as greater commoditisation and bundling of voice minutes.

Yaici cited that 4G will account for only 7 percent of total mobile connections in 2021, and 2G will remain the predominant technology in the region, with 3G’s share of connections predicted to increase to 38 percent.

The number of broadband connections in Sub-Saharan Africa, according to Analysys Mason, will increase from 6 million in 2015 to nearly 10 million in 2021, but this represents an overall penetration rate of only 4.2 percent of households, mainly because of the lack of reliable and affordable fixed broadband options.

“Government-led national broadband plans, coupled with operators’ investment in fibre networks and fixed wireless technologies such as TD-LTE, will boost coverage. These plans have already helped to improve broadband adoption in markets such as Kenya, Rwanda and South Africa,” the research firm noted.

In November 2015, Diogo Sousa, Partner: Technology, Media and Telecommunications, KPMG Angola, quoted Frost & Sullivan as saying that mobile penetration in the sub-Saharan Africa region is expected to increase from 52 percent in 2012 to 79 percent in 2020.

“Africa’s telecoms sectors will continue to undergo huge transformation. While over the last decade this has largely been fuelled by a series of deregulation, convergence and massive investments in undersea cabling and inland fixed and mobile infrastructure – the next wave of transformation in the telecoms sectors will undoubtedly be mobilised by Africa’s +1bn potential consumers,” he added.

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