Informa: African mobile data market to reach $18.5B by 2016

Informa Telecoms & Media predicts that mobile data will account for 22 percent of all mobile service revenue in Africa by 2016. However, the firm said that wireless carriers will need to get to know their customers better and develop better pricing arrangements for devices in order to take advantage of the opportunity.

The findings are part of a new survey, "Africa Telecoms Outlook 2013: Seizing new revenue opportunities," the results of which the consulting firm will publish this week in connection with the AfricaCom 2012 trade show in Cape Town, South Africa.

Informa's research found mobile data revenues in the region will reach $18.5 billion by 2016. Mobile broadband also will be the biggest single revenue opportunity in Africa in the immediate and longer term, the survey suggests. In 2011, mobile data revenues accounted for just 12 percent of all mobile services revenues in Africa.

According to survey respondents, the business case for 4G will emerge as speeds keep getting faster, and businesses of all sizes realize greater agility from mobile broadband. However, the research also noted that mobile phones continue to be relatively expensive across Africa. Seven out of 10 survey respondents said mobile carriers need to use their buying power and distribution networks to make more devices available, and that device makers need to take costs out of their wares.

Nick Jotischky, principal analyst for emerging market analysis at Informa Telecoms & Media, said it boils down to a need among mobile carriers to gain greater insight into customer behaviors in order to better respond to their needs.

This week's AfricaCom will be the fifteenth, and it seems as though the mobile industry has been talking about Africa as a key emerging market for at least that long. 

For more:
- here's the Informa post

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