The region includes the following seven countries: Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Gabon, Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Chad, Congo and Sao Tomé et Principe.
"In 2008, the DRC had the largest number of active mobile subscribers and revenues in the region," says Frost & Sullivan Research Analyst Mervin Miemoukanda. "The DRC, Central African Republic (CAR) and Chad are anticipated to experience strong growth over the next seven years by providing increasing network investments, continuous product innovation and reduced handset costs."
New analysis from Frost & Sullivan (wireless.frost.com), Analysis of Selected Central African Mobile Communications Markets, finds that the market earned revenues of $2.62 billion in 2008 and estimates this to reach $8.99 billion in 2015. The technologies covered in this research are code division multiple access (CDMA), global system for mobile communications (GSM), general packet radio service (GPRS), high-speed packet access (HSDPA) and wideband code division multiple access (WCDMA).
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"The key market growth drivers include rising gross domestic product (GDP), increasing demand for mobile money transfer services, and the lower costs of handsets," says Miemoukanda. "Although the major mobile markets in the central African region, namely the DRC, Chad and Cameroon, are characterised by consumers with low disposable income, Frost & Sullivan anticipates rising consumer spending in mobile communications."
With 19.65 million mobile subscribers and a penetration rate of approximately 20 per cent, the market is likely to experience significant growth based on increasing demand for mobile communications a substitute for low-quality fixed-line networks. The total number of subscribers is likely to reach 39.65 million by 2015, representing a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 10.41 per cent. Additionally, the launching of undersea cables and intense competition is expected to decrease the cost of telecommunications in the medium-to-long term, particularly boosting the demand for mobile Internet access.
However, the central African mobile communications market is ridden with challenges that constrain subscriber and revenue growth. These include high tax rates on mobile services, lack of network rollout in rural areas and a dearth of demand for data services.
"The central African region has imposed the highest high tax charges on mobile services in Africa," explains Miemoukanda. "This is limiting the demand for mobile communications. The lack of network coverage in rural areas with its large population also restricts the expansion of the subscriber base."
Mobile network operators should improve the quality of services through continuous infrastructure investment such as call-switching capacity and develop innovative solutions such as mobile money transfer services. Additionally, they should initiate managed services through outsourcing non-core businesses such as network maintenances. These strategies will help in boosting the demand for mobile services, thereby stepping-up subscriber and revenue growth.
Analysis of Selected Central African Mobile Communications Markets is part of the Mobile & Wireless Growth Partnership Services programme, which also includes research in the following markets: Southern African Mobile Communications Market, West African Mobile Communications Market, East African Mobile Communications Market, and Mozambican Mobile Communications Market. All research services included in subscriptions provide detailed market opportunities and industry trends that have been evaluated following extensive interviews with market participants.
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Analysis of Selected Central African Mobile Communications Markets / M4A9