How Africa Became the Center of Mobile Web Growth

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The fastest-growing region for the mobile web isn’t North America.

Nor is it Europe, or even Asia.

These days, it’s Africa that is undoubtedly at the center of mobile web growth and adoption.

In Nigeria, an amazing 87 million people now surf the web via their mobile phones and devices, making it the largest telecom market by investment and subscription on the continent.
In Nigeria, an amazing 87 million people now surf the web via their mobile phones and devices, making it the largest telecom market by investment and subscription on the continent.

In Nigeria, an amazing 87 million people now surf the web via their mobile phones and devices, making it the largest telecom market by investment and subscription on the continent. The country’s mobile usage astoundingly transcends income levels, with 25% of Nigerian mobile users — some 22 million people — coming from low-income households, a new report from the Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC) revealed.

This trend is evident in other African nations, as well. According to a June 22 CIO.com article, 40% of the population throughout Africa’s major telecom markets — which include South Africa, Nigeria, Ghanda, Uganda and Kenya — are now accessing the web via their mobile phones.

Zimbabwe is another nation that has shifted to the mobile web with gusto. There are now more SIM cards in this country than there are people. An astounding 78% of Zimbabwean adults have used their phones to shop or send money. Globally, an estimated four out of five, about 80% of consumers, shop with their smartphones.

Experts attribute the precipitous rise in mobile web usage to the low costs of purchasing a smartphone with a data plan. People can now purchase Internet-enabled phones for as little as $30. In many places throughout Africa, data plans can be obtained for as low as $5 a month.

When one weighs the reliability and affordability of an Internet-equipped phone against Africa’s poor landline infrastructure, the choice is obvious to many.

“Mobile broadband is fast growing in the region because even operators have realized that more people, especially in rural areas want to communicate through social media as it is cheaper than to make calls,” Edith Mwale, telecom analyst at Africa Center of ICT Development, told CIO.com.

With Africa swiftly becoming one of the hottest markets for mobile web and telephone providers, there’s no telling how some of the world’s largest telecom corporations will try and capture some of this market for themselves.

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