Africa and the Middle East to lead mobile broadband growth

Africa and the Middle East will lead the world in terms of the percentage of mobile broadband subscriptions through 2012, according to the latest report from Pyramid Research, the telecom research arm of the Light Reading Communications Network.

Although Africa and the Middle East generated 10% of global mobile revenue in 2008, the region contributed only 3% of global mobile data revenue, notes Dearbhla McHenry, analyst at Pyramid Research and author of the report.

However, she said the region will double its share of global mobile data revenue by 2014 due to its growing popularity of mobile broadband in the region, in rich and poor markets alike.

“We expect mobile broadband adoption in Africa and the Middle East to grow faster than the global average over the next five years, with the subscriber total increasing at a CAGR of 33 percent to reach 32.2 million by 2014,” McHenry claimed.

Continuing, McHenry stated: “Just as markets in Africa and the Middle East were starved for voice communications prior to the mobile era, so too were they starved for Internet access; inadequate fixed infrastructure and insufficient competition in the fixed market meant that services were either unavailable, unaffordable, or both. The launch of 3G services in much of the region means that its Internet market is now on the brink of a similar makeover as when the advent of mobile communications famously and dramatically transformed AME’s voice telecommunications sector,” she added.

The region’s great unmet demand for Internet access, combined with its generally inadequate fixed networks, means that from 2008 through 2012, Africa and the Middle East will lead the world in terms of the percentage of broadband subscriptions that are mobile. “Mobile operators are eager to take advantage of this opportunity, routinely offering mobile broadband as their first or even their only 3G service following their 3G network rollouts,” McHenry said.

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