Smart devices key to Africa’s Internet access

04 June 2014

Mobile phones, particularly smartphones, are likely to become central to consumers accessing the Internet, changing the way business is undertaken, Engineering News reports. 

Communications and technology services giant Ericsson’s latest Mobility Report found that the mobile phone had become the leading communications device in the sub-Saharan consumer market, with phones now used for a variety of activities generally performed on a computer or laptop in more developed regions.

“The rapid global and regional uptake of smartphones has changed the way people communicate and use the Internet … [and] will transform all other industries,” the report pointed out.

Head of Ericsson South Africa Magnus Mchunguzi said a standout trend emerging from the report this year was the ever-increasing uptake in mobile banking and social media.

The financial sector was a key area in which mobile phones had transformed consumers’ behaviours, promoting financial inclusion – and sub-Saharan Africa was leading the world.

Further, mobile banking had moved beyond urban centres to peripheral surroundings and beyond, with significant uptake and use in rural areas, where 75% of the sub-Saharan African population lived.

Further, about 58% of mobile users in the region showed an interest in using mobile banking and mobile wallets in future.
At the end of 2013, sub-Saharan Africa had a 70% mobile penetration rate and was “rapidly closing in” on the global mobile penetration rate of 92%.

By the end of 2014, Ericsson forecast that there would be over 635-million subscriptions in sub-Saharan Africa. This was predicted to rise to about 930-million by the end of 2019.

By: Natasha Odendaal

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