Mobile data opportunity emerges in Africa

Mobile data revenues in Africa will hit $18.5 billion (€14.5 billion) by 2016, making mobile broadband the region’s largest revenue opportunity for the foreseeable future, Informa Telecoms & Media predicts.
A survey by the firm suggests mobile data revenues will account for 22% of the region’s total mobile service revenues by 2016, up from 12% in 2011. A majority of respondents (70%) believe mobile data growth will be fuelled by rising deployments of 4G networks, which will improve the agility of local businesses and, in particular, small-to-medium enterprises.
However, the same number of respondents believe mobile operators must make it easier for the masses to access mobile broadband services, by increasing the number of devices available, and encouraging mobile phone makers to produce cheaper handsets.
Nick Jotischky, principal analyst for emerging market analysis at the research firm, says carriers’ customer bases are far deeper today than three years ago. “[F]or this reason, mobile network operators (MNOs) need to gain a greater insight into their customers’ behavior and offer them services that match their individual needs.”
To achieve that, cellco’s must “design new business models that combine an MNO’s traditional capabilities (mobility, location) with Internet-style services (search, mapping),” to offer a “more compelling and personalized set of services to a wider variety of customer segments.”