Mobile operators in Africa have set their eyes on annual mobile data revenues of $18.5 billion by 2016 which would account for 22 per cent of the region's total mobile service revenues as compared to 12 per cent in 2011.
According to a recent industry outlook survey commissioned by Informa Telecoms & Media, mobile broadband is the biggest single revenue opportunity in Africa in the immediate and longer term. The 'Africa Telecoms Outlook 2013: Seizing new revenue opportunities' report will be unveiled next week in Cape Town.
According to 70 per cent of the survey's respondents, mobile data growth will power a number of revenue opportunities while the business case for 4G technology will emerge, as the growth of mobile data services continues to accelerate.
The survey also showed that giving mobility to broadband services will empower enterprises, especially SMEs to benefit from more mobile working thereby generating greater business agility.
Nick Jotischky, principal analyst for emerging market analysis at Informa Telecoms & Media said "There is more depth to a mobile operator's customer base in Africa than two or three years ago and, for this reason, MNOs need to gain a greater insight into their customers' behavior and offer them services that match their individual needs and preferences.
"Using this insight to design new business models that combine mobile network operators (MNOs) traditional capabilities (mobility, location) with Internet-style services (search, mapping) will enable a more compelling and personalised set of services to a wider variety of customer segments". Yet there remains a large constraint on the ideal of connecting Africa. Even the cheapest mobile phone is still not affordable for many there.