- African telecoms operators need to look to the next-generation business models to sustain growth, according to global business intelligence and strategic services provider.
African telecoms operators have faced several challenges in 2009 - an increasingly intensive competitive landscape, a harsh economic climate and the need to expand networks into rural areas. And yet, according to forecasts from Informa Telecoms & Media, mobile subscription growth is still set to increase by 26.6 percent year on year with the total number of active subscriptions to exceed 473 million by the end of 2009.
This figure is projected to increase to approximately 800 million by 2014, by which time SIM penetration across the region should reach 70 percent.
“African operators have always recognised the need for innovation in meeting the demands of a low-income population, but the need to stand out from the crowd and differentiate from one’s competitors is taking this requirement to a new level,” comments Nick Jotischky, Informa Telecoms & Media’s Principal Analyst covering Middle East & Africa.
“Those operators that adapt to the increased intensity of competition and the evolving role of communications will be best suited to surviving a dynamic but harsh operating environment,” adds Mr Jotischky.
A sign of this harsher operating environment is the need for operators to manage their costs and maintain margins. Offsetting the ongoing fall in voice revenues is becoming central to operator strategies across the world. Not only are data services important as an income generator, but they are also useful as a customer retention tool. Investing in infrastructure to provide reliable data services to corporate and consumers will also be a focus of discussions.
In order to reflect a market that is developing at a rapid rate, this year’s AfricaCom event (11-12 November in Cape Town) will focus on strategies to maintain the momentum of growth. Leading industry players from across the world will discuss the need for new business models to meet the changing demands of Africa’s communications market.
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