African mobile subscribers to hit half a billion by 2020
Sub-Saharan Africa is the fastest growing market for mobile technologies, according to forecasts made by the GSM Association (GSMA) trade organisation, with subscriptions set to jump to a half billion within the next three years. The region currently has 420 million mobile subscribers with a 43% penetration rate with SIM connections currently numbering 731m, although expected to rise to a billion by 2020.
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Smartphone connections have doubled in Sub-Saharan Africa over the past two years to nearly 200 million.
The report identified increasing affordability of new devices and growing market for second-hand devices as reasons for the growth of smartphones. which has affected revenue growth in the region due to messaging services like WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger.
Earlier this month, Bharti Airtel’s Africa business reported a profit of $52 million for the first quarter of FY 2017-18 from a loss of $78 million a year ago, bucking an overall slump for the Indian company which is looking to merge its Nigerian arm with 9mobile (formerly Etisalat Nigeria).