821m mobile subscriptions have been added across Africa in Q3 2012, up 16.9 per cent on the same period last year. Penetration has now reached 76.4 per cent and will pass 80 per cent in Q1 2013, according to ABI Research's quarterly 'Middle East and African Subscriber' report.
The African market is expected to grow 1.12bn by 2017, contributing 13.9 per cent to take the global market to 8.11bn. But the majority of subscribers still access mobile services on pay-as-you-go. In South Africa, prepaid range from 70 per cent to 86 per cent, but most countries have prepaid ratios of more than 95 per cent.
“Subscriptions are still very much dominated by voice communications and text messaging in the form of GSM, with 62.7 per cent. 3G subscriptions —both CDMA2000 and WCDMA —still only represent 11 per cent of the overall African market, while 27 per cent still relies on 2.5G access technologies for mobile data access,” said Jake Saunders, VP of forecasting at ABI Research.
The seven biggest mobile operators across Africa are: MTN Nigeria, with 43.2m subscriptions, Vodacom, with 37.7m, Vodafone Egypt, with 37.5m, MobiNil, with 32.4m, MTN South Africa, with 23.5m subscriptions, Etisalat Misr, with 22.9m and Glo Mobile, with 22m.