Africa to hit 634 million mobile subscribers by 2025 – Report

The new report forecasts that there will be 634 million unique mobile subscribers across Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) by 2025, according to the latest edition of GSMA Mobile Economy report series.
It said that figure was equivalent to 52 per cent of the population, up from 444 million (44 per cent) at the end of last year, monitored by the Ghana News Agency.
The report also calculated that the mobile ecosystem will add more than $150billion in value to SSA’s economy by 2022, equivalent to almost eight per cent of regional GDP.
Mr John Giusti, Chief Regulatory Officer at the GSMA said “For many citizens across the region, particularly those living in rural areas, a mobile phone is not just a communications device but also the primary channel for getting online and a vital tool for improving their lives.
“More needs to be done to extend connectivity to the remaining unconnected and underserved populations across Sub-Sahara Africa, but this will require a focus on long-term industry sustainability that can only be achieved through investment-friendly policies and supportive regulatory frameworks,” he said.
SSA has been the world’s fastest-growing mobile region in recent years but subscriber growth is slowing as the industry faces the challenges of affordability and a youthful population.
The region’s current mobile penetration rate (44 per cent of the population) is significantly below the global average of 66 per cent.
According to the World Bank, around 40 per cent of the population in the region were under the age of 16, a demographic segment that had significantly lowered levels of mobile ownership than the population as a whole.
However, despite these challenges, smartphone adoption continued to increase rapidly, thanks to lower device costs, which was serving to accelerate migration to 3G/4G mobile broadband networks and services.
The report predicted that mobile broadband will account for 87 per cent of mobile connections in SSA by 2025, up from 38 per cent in 2017. 
Moreover, nearly 300 million new subscribers were expected to use their devices to access mobile internet services over the next seven years.
Last year, mobile technologies and services accounted for 7.1 per cent of GDP across SSA, a contribution that amounted to $110 billion of economic value added.
It said by 2022, the region’s mobile economy was forecast to generate more than $150 billion (7.9 per cent of GDP) of economic value as countries continued to benefit from improvements in productivity and efficiency, particularly due to the increase in mobile internet adoption.
The region’s mobile ecosystem also supported three million jobs in 2017 and contributed almost $14 billion to the funding of the public sector in the form of general taxation as well as sector-specific levies on the consumption of mobile services.
The report also included examples of how mobile networks and services were playing a key role in delivering the UN’s Sustainable Developments Goals (SDGs) four (4), as well as supporting a fast-growing tech startup ecosystem.
Many tech startups in Africa now use mobile as the primary platform to create solutions that addressed a range of socioeconomic challenges.
“Sub-Saharan Africa’s mobile industry is showing strong progress in achieving the targets of the SDGs, predominantly through increased connectivity and access to information, but also through the delivery of services, such as mobile money, that increase productivity, improve well-being and reduce poverty,” added Giusti.
Source: GNA
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