Telecom operators in Africa eyes data explosion

February 26, 2013

Mobile operators in Africa are targeting strategic growth areas in the wake of commercial 4G mobile services. Optical networks, small cell base stations and 4G network equipment are gaining popularity for mobile operators in African continent as they look to roll out their 4G networks this and next year. Africa is strategically important for mobile network operators seeking huge growth and appetizing revenue that contribute to their regional and global growth. Mobile operators are gearing up to replace their existing fibre optic network capacity to increase Internet connection capacity and ease traffic congestion.

Exploding growth in mobile data demand pushed by the proliferation of smartphones and tablets coupled with a surge in data usage will double the continent’s wireless data traffic this year. The industry predicts that global mobile data demand will surge 25-fold by 2016 and Africa markets has been described as one of those with immense potential. The existing 2G subscribers and 3G customers figures could shift significantly once commercial 4G mobile becomes available and overall revenue for mobile operators is not increasing in line with the industry’s growth rates. Therefore, operators in Africa need to upgrade their network infrastructure to improve service quality and lower costs.

Most mobile operators have largely ignored the small-cell networks that are another growth area in the 3G Wireless broadband because of their higher coverage capacity and less required time for installation. Africa lacks enough mobile base stations and the number of small cell bases will likely surpass conventional base stations in the future. The upcoming 4G Technology is tipped to be the next big opportunity, and mobile operators are gearing up for the long-term evolution network technology. The move by the most African governments to liberalize the continent’s telecommunications industry will also likely spur network construction demand, with key telecom operators keen to jump into the worlds’ second largest mobile market.

Contador Harrison