This Ain’t a Phone, It’s An Arms Race

It goes without saying that mobile is exciting business these days across Africa. Chris Andrews writes….

If you want a picture of explosive growth in mobile communications, look to Africa. A report from The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) has found that between 2003 and 2008, mobile subscriptions surged from 54 million to almost 350 million; or a 550% increase in five years.

In 2008, the report found, Gabon, Seychelles, and South Africa had a mobile penetration rate of almost 100 subscriptions per 100 inhabitants. In North Africa, the average penetration stood at almost two thirds of the population, and for Africa as a whole, it was over one third.

Things are definitely picking up. Recently In Uganda a price war’s been brewing between local providers…

  1. MTN Uganda introduces Mobile Money.
  2. Zain Uganda introduces ZAP a few months later.
  3. UTL and Infocom are the first buy to Seacom access in the country, prices fall, speeds increase dramatically.
  4. Orange enters the market with unlimited 3G access for $50 a month for six months!
  5. MTN claims bandwidth prices will be down first of the year.
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About the author: Jonathan Gosier is a UI designer, software developer and writer. He currently lives in Kampala, Uganda where he incubates and invests in East African entrepreneurs as the CEO of Appfrica Labs. He's also a TED Fellow.
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