Mobile Technology in Africa: a comparative view between Kenya and South Africa

Title: Mobile Technology in Africa: a comparative view between Kenya and South Africa
Author: Mariska Du Preez
Source: MIH Media Lab
Date (published): 07/12/2011
Date (accessed): 13/12/2011
Type of information: blog post
Language: English
On-line access: yes (HTML)
"A recent GSMA report stated that Africa is currently the second biggest market for mobile in the world. This means that there is huge innovation potential in terms of mobile technology application development, as well as creating solutions (think access to information, ability to transfer money, creating jobs) for the more than 649 million handset owners on the continent.

As part of my research I’ve been investigating the mobile tech space in South Africa and Kenya as well as the developer communities in both countries. It is interesting to see how many differences (and surprising similarities) there are in terms of mobile usage and user statistics."

Ten Facts about Mobile Broadband

Title: Ten Facts about Mobile Broadband
Author: Darrell M. West
Pages: 13 pp.
Source: The Brookings Institution
Date (published): 08/12/2011
Date (accessed): 09/12/2011
Type of information: report
Language: English
On-line access: yes (pdf)
"Mobile broadband is reshaping society, communications, and the global economy. With smart phone usage surpassing that of personal computers, there has been a sea change in the way consumers access and share information. Powerful mobile devices and sophisticated digital applications enable users to build businesses, access financial and health care records, conduct research, and complete transactions anywhere.

This revolution in how consumers and businesses access information represents a fundamental turning point in human history. For the first time, people are able to reach the Internet in a relatively inexpensive and convenient manner. Regardless of geographic location, they can use mobile broadband for communications, education, health care, public safety, disaster preparedness, and economic development.

In this report, I review ten facts about mobile broadband. I show how the mobile economy is reshaping the global landscape. Both in developed and emerging markets, there are major opportunities to create jobs, and create social and economic connections. With the mobile industry generating $1.3 trillion in revenues, it is important to understand how telephony is affecting the way people relate to one another."

Africa is world’s second most connected region by mobile subscriptions

Title: Africa is world’s second most connected region by mobile subscriptions
Author: Matthew Reed
Source: Informa Telecomms & Media
Date (published): 03/11/2011
Date (accessed): 20/11/2011
Type of information: press release
Language: English
On-line access: yes (HTML)
"Number of mobile subscriptions in Africa to reach one billion in 2016

Africa has become the second most connected region in the world in terms of mobile subscription count, up from fourth place at end of 2010, according to new research by Informa Telecoms & Media. There were over 616 million mobile subscriptions in Africa at the end of September, which means that the mobile market on the continent is second only to Asia-Pacific in terms of mobile subscription numbers.

Africa’s mobile-subscription count overtook that of Western Europe during 2Q11 and then overtook the Americas in 3Q11. At end-2010, less than a year ago, Africa was only the fourth largest regional mobile market by subscriptions, coming after Asia-Pacific, Western Europe and the Americas.

“The combination in Africa of a still relatively immature telecoms market with factors including population growth, strong competition among providers and the increasing affordability of mobile devices, explains Africa’s move up the regional mobile-market rankings as well as its strong growth forecast,” said Matthew Reed, head of mobile research for the Middle East and Africa at Informa Telecoms & Media. "Africa’s mobile market is heading towards a major landmark: the number of mobile subscriptions on the continent will cross the one billion mark in 2016 according to our latest forecast.""

Pedagogical Integration of ICT: Successes and Challenges from 100+ African Schools - 3rd edition

Title: Pedagogical Integration of ICT: Successes and Challenges from 100+ African Schools - 3rd edition
Authors: Thierry Karsenti, Simon Collin and Toby Harper-Merrett
Pages: 349 pp.
ISBN: 978-2-923808-16-1
Publisher: IDRC
Date (published): 18/11/2011
Date (accessed): 19/11/2011
Type of information: research book
Language: English
On-line access: yes (pdf)
"The PanAfrican Research Agenda aimed to better understand how the pedagogical integration of ICT can improve the quality of teaching and learning in Africa.
In the first project phase, national research teams gathered data on the educational use of ICT in 13 countries: Ghana, Gambia, Senegal, Central African Republic, Uganda, Mozambique, Mali, Kenya, Ivory Coast, Congo, Cameroon, and South Africa, and Zambia. Data were collected according to a mixed-method approach, using quantitative data (e.g., questionnaires) and qualitative data (e.g., interviews, observations) on how ICT were integrated into education. In all, 120 schools, 800 school administrators, 8 940 teachers, and 242 873 students participated in the project.

Phase 1 of the PanAf project primarily involved collecting 20,000 pieces of data following a rigorous indicator procedure that was determined based on the literature as well several meetings between the researchers from the participating countries. All the gathered data are available on the Observatory for the pedagogical integration of ICT at (briefly presented in section VI).

Analyses of the raw data are also provided at the Observatory, and are available not only to PanAf researchers, but to all researchers in Africa and around the world. The clear advantage of these data, beyond being freely accessible at all times, is that they allow a deeper understanding of Africa's ICT policies and a greater awareness of the impacts of ICT on learners and educators. Note that these data frequently highlight gender issues and uncover inequalities throughout education systems. Last but not least, phase 1 of the PanAf project has fostered the development of research skills in the project teams."

Broadband in Morocco : Political Will Meets Socio-Economic Reality

Title: Broadband in Morocco : Political Will Meets Socio-Economic Reality
Author: Samantha Constant
Pages: 36 pp.
Source: infoDev
Publisher: The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development / The World Bank
Date (published): 27/10/2011
Date (accessed): 18/11/2011
Type of information: report
Language: English
On-line access: yes (pdf)
"Fully one quarter of Moroccan households boast a broadband connection - up from just two percent in 2004. This report seeks to understand Morocco's relatively high broadband adoption while proposing additional areas of focus to move beyond this initial success.

This report presents the broadband landscape in Morocco and the approach by which the country has advanced its ICT sector over the past fifteen years. Despite being constrained by human development challenges and regional political uncertainty in today’s “Arab Spring,” Morocco has emerged as a trailblazer in certain areas with particularly impressive mobile broadband results.
The mobile industry is a big spotlight in Morocco’s broadband achievements. The introduction of third generation wireless technology in 2007 led to substantive growth of overall Internet subscriptions. This however has come at the cost of investment in fixed infrastructure. There is a need to boost fiber deployment in both local access and backbone networks. Understandably, such civil works require financing that will only happen if the private sector is confident it will see a return in its investments.

Going beyond its initial broadband success and making broadband sustainable and transformational will be a challenge for Morocco. Deeping broadband access must find a way to deal with the social and economic reality of a lower-middle-income country. This will require fresh and innovative solutions including more emphasis on bottom-up initiatives."

Broadband in Vietnam: Forging Its Own Path

Title: Broadband in Vietnam: Forging Its Own Path
Author: Tran Minh Truan
Pages: 29 pp.
Source: infoDev
Publisher: The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development / The World Bank
Date (published): 18/11/2011
Date (accessed): 18/11/2011
Type of information: report
Language: English
On-line access: yes (pdf)
"Wired broadband in Vietnam has grown over one thousand percent since 2005. While the country has made tremendous achievements in broadband, there are challenges arising from its rapid growth. This report identifies the key factors that have defined Vietnam's broadband trajectory and the role broadband might play in the future.

Solid economic growth in Vietnam has coincided with increased broadband usage. Liberalization of the telecommunications sector has led to growing competition with 11 enterprises providing infrastructure. Service providers have developed modern IP-based networks with extensive fiber optic backbones. Incomes have risen so that more people can afford broadband. This in turn has created a virtuous circle with explosive demand creating a larger market, resulting in economies of scale and lower prices. Another factor driving fixed broadband growth is that Vietnam was a latecomer to the IMT-2000 WCMDA mobile broadband technology. Major mobile operators did not launch their networks until 2009 with around 15 percent of mobile subscribers having WCDMA capability towards the end of 2010.
Despite these successes, Vietnam faces challenges broadening broadband access, particularly in rural areas where some 70 percent of the population resides. Young people in urban areas “live” with high-speed Internet access; however, less than one percent of rural households had any type of Internet access in 2008.

The cost of fiber optic access is only economical in new urban areas and for large enterprises so DSL remains the fixed broadband choice of households. But copper lines provide less quality than fiber and it is difficult to upgrade the transmission capacity. At the same time, telecom enterprises have been lately focusing on developing mobile broadband subscribers to the detriment of the fixed network.

The large number of operators has led to overlap in investment in the access network. Interconnection is difficult because operators use a variety of technologies, impacting standardization of the national telecommunications infrastructure. Intense competition has resulted in price wars threatening long-term sustainability. Service providers are looking to reduce duplication by cooperating on shared infrastructure but so far no specific measures have been implemented."

Connected Agriculture : The role of mobile in driving efficiency and sustainability in the food and agriculture value chain

Title: Connected Agriculture : The role of mobile in driving efficiency and sustainability in the food and agriculture value chain
Pages: 42 pp.
Publisher: Vodafone
Date (published): 11/10/2011
Date (accessed): 17/11/2011
Type of information: report
Language: English
On-line access: yes (pdf)
"Mobile communications can help to meet the challenge of feeding an estimated 9.2 billion people by 2050. The 12 specific opportunities explored in this study could increase agricultural income by around US$138 billion across 26 of Vodafone’s markets in 2020.

They could also cut carbon dioxide emissions by approximately 5 mega tonnes (Mt) in these markets and reduce freshwater withdrawals for agricultural irrigation by 6%, with significant savings in water-stressed regions. These benefits assume there will be around 549 million mobile connections to relevant services in 2020.

This report aims to stimulate the necessary engagement between mobile operators, governments, NGOs and businesses to realise these opportunities and explore others.
Benefits Mobile services can enable companies to

The opportunities studied here would improve the efficiency of the agriculture and food sectors as well as helping to raise the incomes of millions of poor farmers in developing countries. Increased efficiency is also expected to lead to fewer food losses – an important aspect of meeting the world’s growing demand for adequate and affordable supplies of nutritious food.

These mobile services enable companies to access and interact directly with different participants in the value chain, helping to build visibility of issues, capacity and quality. They will support company sustainability objectives, and in particular, progress towards the UN Millennium Development Goals by helping to reduce poverty, improve health and increase funding for education.

The greatest potential benefits can be generated by enabling mobile financial payments and mobile information provision, each delivering almost 40% of the total estimated increase in agricultural income.

Mobile telecommunications can connect farmers to markets, finance and education, making it possible to monitor resources and track products. This unlocks productivity potential while helping to manage the impacts of increased production, such as increased water use and greenhouse gas emissions.

This study focuses on 12 opportunities that deliver broad socio-economic and environmental benefits. They are grouped in four categories that were identified through stakeholder consultations as the most important.

The systems required to deliver these opportunities are both complex and fragmented and, as such, need the collective support of key stakeholders across the agricultural supply chain. Mobile network operators are well-positioned to act as a catalyst for action. They have the technology, the distribution channels and the customer relationships to drive these initiatives forward. However, NGOs, private enterprises and governments must agree to contribute their knowledge and expertise in order to ensure the delivery of the benefits to their full potential.

Critical success factors include the development of local relationships and understanding, testing solutions and a sympathetic regulatory environment. Consolidating these elements will help to ensure that the content and methods of delivery are tailored to both markets and crop types, optimising the value for farmers. Governments will also benefit through improved data collection and efficient, secure methods of subsidy distribution and other transactions. Pilot projects will provide an opportunity to test the technology, explore delivery partnerships, and create new business models for the rural poor and other underserved groups, such as women farmers. A regulatory environment that supports these innovations, in terms of both the technology and the required business models, will be essential.

The potential multiplier effects of the social and economic benefits that these opportunities could deliver will reach well beyond the immediate value chain. For example, improved agricultural income can reduce pressure on social support systems. It is clearly in the interest of all stakeholders to work together to ensure success."

Asia Pacific Mobile Observatory 2011 : Driving Economic and Social Development through Mobile Services

Title: Asia Pacific Mobile Observatory 2011 : Driving Economic and Social Development through Mobile Services
Authors: Naveen Menon, Christopher Firth, Samantha Lim
Pages: 96 pp.
Publisher: GSM Association
Date (published): 14/11/2011
Date (accessed): 17/11/2011
Type of information: report
Language: English
On-line access: yes (pdf)
"Asia Pacific is the largest mobile market in the world, and is continuing to show strong growth.
Asia Pacific accounts for half of the total mobile connections in the world, with 3 billion lines. Looking ahead, the region is expected to continue its strong growth, adding a further 1.5 billion connections between 2010 and 2015 – similar in scale to the achievements of the last five years when 1.7 billion new connections were added. This growth and scale is encouraging for consumers and investors alike, as the industry has shown resilience through the global economic crisis by continuing to invest funds to improve the quality of mobile services across the region.
Mobile broadband and data services are transforming the landscape.
By 2015 Asia Pacific is expected to account for 40% of global data traffic. Mobile broadband is booming across
the Asia Pacific region, increasingly becoming the standard conduit to access the Internet, partly driven by rapid 3G network rollouts. In all developed Asian markets mobile service coverage now stands at over 95% while the likes of Malaysia and Indonesia have also achieved population coverage of over 80% – especially impressive given the topography of these countries. As a result, the breadth of applications and services delivered over mobile networks is booming. For example, by 2020 there will be an estimated 5.3 billion M2M connections in Asia Pacific.

The inaugural Mobile Broadband Readiness Index (MBRI) indicates that countries creating an ecosystem conducive to growth in mobile data services have the potential to make rapid leaps ahead of their peers. In 2011 we saw Japan rise up to the top of the index above Singapore, driven by its early 4G rollout and its pro-innovation environment. Hong Kong and Vietnam also jumped ahead, demonstrating their strong commitment to fostering a succesfull broadband landscape. Different stages of market evolution will require different strategies to ensure that growth can be sustained.

The mobile sector is having a transformational impact on society. As well as the social, environmental and charitable initiatives led by mobile operators, the industry is making a profound collateral impact on society by creating efficiencies in everyday communication, productivity and knowledge. Communication is more efficient than ever before, with mobile platforms providing a basis for instant social and professional connections. Productivity efficiencies come from data-enabled mobile devices providing greater flexibility in where we process information, allowing us to lead more productive lives and businesses to be more efficient in their delivery of goods and services. Knowledge efficiencies have enabled markets to function more efficiently and the unprecedented ability of consumers to access any information, anytime, anywhere and can provide a deep social, intellectual and financial advantage."

African Mobile Observatory 2011 : Driving Economic and Social Development through Mobile Services

Title: African Mobile Observatory 2011 : Driving Economic and Social Development through Mobile Services
Author Editor: Tom Phillips, Peter Lyons, Mark Page, Laurent Viviez, Dr. Maria Molina, Tim Ensor
Pages: 58 pp.
Publisher: GSM Association
Date (published): 09/11/2011
Date (accessed): 17/11/2011
Type of information: report
Language: English
On-line access: yes (pdf)
"The mobile industry in Africa is booming. With over 620 million mobile connections as of September 2011, Africa has overtaken Latin America to become the second largest mobile market in the world, after Asia. Over the past 10 years, the number of mobile connections in Africa has grown an average of 30% per year and is forecast to reach 735 million by the end of 2012.

Fierce competition has driven down prices and increased penetration. Price wars have been common across the continent as operators compete for market share with innovative revenue and pricing options - operators have reduced prices an average of 18% between 2010 and 2011, making mobile connectivity more broadly affordable to the masses. 96% of subscriptions are pre-paid with voice services currently dominating, however the uptake of data services is increasing rapidly. For example in Kenya data revenues, including SMS, have increased at a remarkable 67% CAGR over the last 4 years and now represent 26% of total revenues.

The Mobile Industry in Africa contributes US$56 billion to the regional economy, equivalent to 3.5% of total GDP. In particular, the mobile ecosystem is estimated to employ over 5 million Africans and is contributing to bringing mobile services to customers right across the continent. However there remains huge untapped potential - 36% of Africans, within the 25 largest African mobile markets (A25), still have no access to mobile services. Projections indicate that raising the whole region to 100% mobile penetration, could add an additional US$35 billion in aggregate GDP to the region, equivalent to a further 2% increase.

The mobile industry in Africa is an enabler of economic development far beyond its immediate domain. Mobile operators have driven the emergence of a unique industry in innovative mobile services in Africa. Mobile Value-Added Services have been launched throughout the continent to enable and support agriculture, banking, education, healthcare and gender equality. In particular, the emergence of mobile money transfers and mobile banking puts Africa firmly at the forefront of the global Mobile Money industry. Beyond mobile services, the mobile industry is also contributing to rural electrical distribution with lower carbon emissions and facilitating the work of NGOs across the continent. Many African governments have prioritized ICT policy as a key driver for development.

For the mobile industry to continue to serve as a catalyst for growth, sufficient spectrum is needed for the provision of mobile broadband services. African countries have currently allocated considerably less spectrum to mobile services than developing countries in Europe, the Americas and Asia. Allocating the Digital Dividend spectrum to mobile services will enable the mobile industry to accelerate its efforts to bring connectivity and information to large swathes of rural Africa."

The World in 2011: ICT Facts and Figures

Title: The World in 2011: ICT Facts and Figures
Pages: 8 pp.
Publisher: ITU
Date (published): 25/10/2011
Date (accessed): 04/11/2011
Type of information: mini-report
Language: English
On-line access: yes (pdf)
"ITU took the occasion to unveil a new mini-report, The World in 2011, which reveals impressive growth in areas such as global Internet use, particularly in developing countries. The publication confirms that ICT growth continues apace, with close to six billion mobile cellular subscriptions forecast by the end of 2011, and around 2.3 billion people using the Internet.
Growth is fastest in the developing world, and amongst the young, with almost half the world’s online population now under 25 years old. That number should continue to increase steadily as Internet penetration continues to grow in schools.

The developing world’s share of the world’s total Internet users has grown from 44% five years ago, to 62% today. Global Internet penetration has grown by over 50% in three years – from 13% in 2008 to 20% in 2011.

The new ITU figures provide a quick snapshot of broadband deployment worldwide, revealing gaping disparities in high-speed access. While international Internet bandwidth has grown from 11,000 Gbps in 2006 to close to 80,000 Gbps in 2011, Europeans enjoy on average almost 90’000 bps of bandwidth per user compared to Internet users in Africa, who are limited to 2,000 bps per user.

The report shows that the world’s top broadband economies are all located in Europe, Asia and the Pacific. In the Republic of Korea, mobile broadband penetration now exceeds 90%, with nearly all fixed broadband connections providing speeds equal to or above 10 Mbps. In comparison, broadband users in countries such as Ghana, Mongolia, Oman and Venezuela are limited to broadband speeds below 2 Mbps."

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