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Africa Connected

Despite a global recession Africa's telecoms industry will post an increasing number of mobile subscribers and data usage

A telecoms committee has been recently formed to urge African Countries to focus their attention to broadband deployment and telecom services to rural communities.  Africa is still experiencing strong growth in telecommunication, broadband, non-voice services, rural expansion and efficiency strategies which have all been identified as the main opportunities for continued expansion within Africa

Despite a global recession Africa's telecoms industry will post an increasing number of mobile subscribers and data usage, it seems that the telecoms industry could single handily support the continued growth within Africa, but this needs to be supported by not only industry heads but also the government.  The report conducted by Ernst and Young's Global Telecommunication Centre, indicates that the Internet penetration level in the continent is a paltry 5.4 percent, with only 12 countries having a penetration rate of more than 1 percent.

The committee who will meet at the NGT Africa summit will be made up of the biggest Telecom companies on the Continent, which include Zain, MTN, Africell, Safaricom, Vodafone and France Telecom.  They have announced their belief that voice services would remain the largest contributor to telecom operators' revenue in the medium term, and data and value added services would also continue to grow within rural areas.

Summit organiser William Austin stated, "Even though the African telecommunications industry is one of the fastest growing in the world, up to 85% of the population in some countries still doesn't have access to basic wireless communications. In the past, these remote and rural locations have proven too difficult to serve for most operators, but as technology evolves, this untapped market is gradually starting to become more attractive and economically viable to the service providers in the region."

Now that sub-sea cables have landed on mainland Africa, the continent has access to broadband and various other services that can be delivered via high speed internet. However, several key challenges still remain before subscribers can enjoy a reliable, safe and affordable service from Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and operators in the region.  Before this African countries in the eastern region were dependent on satellite as a backhaul mechanism.

The NGT Africa Committee also believe that the continent will witness increased consolidation and mergers; markets that have five or more operators are likely to see more mergers as players compete for access to lucrative markets.  The future of telecoms within Africa looks positive but it will face many challenges such as inadequate regulatory frameworks, political instability and slow rate of market liberalization.  Ethiopia, Somalia and Zimbabwe are still considered virgin markets and it is these areas that will present some of the greatest risks as well as the greatest opportunities.

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John Funnell has worked in online media for over ten years, after achieving his First Class BSC Hons Degree (BBC Sponsored), John won Bos 18-21 Princess Trust Entrepeneur of the year at 21, setting up Clean Living Records Ltd (including www.BeatReview.com) with great success having many acts that charted in Europe and Canada. After selling the business John looked for a new challenge and joined GDS International, having a successful career in sales and Delegate acquisition, he worked up to Event Director EMEA, forging contacts with some of the biggest technology names in the world, this lead to John having a lead role in the creation of MeettheBoss.com and MeettheBoss.tv – the worlds largest business IPTV channel. John then took over as Marketing and Communications Director and ran a multifaceted global Marketing team for GDS International in New York, Sydney, Kuala Lumper and the UK.. John joined Global in 2011 with the challenge of supporting its growth by developing a solid Marketing foundation through various Digital, PR and brand initiatives.