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UK Insights

Mobile phone use in Africa

Will Galgey

CEO, Insights Division

Tech Mobile 09.01.2013 / 00:00

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In Sub-Saharan Africa, only 12 per cent of the population owns a desktop PC, with laptops at the same level of penetration; however, already, 18 per cent of the population owns a smartphone.

With Africa projected to represent seven of the world's ten fastest-growing economies between 2011 and 2015, Kantar company, TNS, has put together a new report looking at the trends and opportunities across the region: Navigating growth in Africa.

Part of the report focuses on mobile ownership and usage, using information from TNS's Mobile Life study. The study shows strong take-up of mobile banking and mobile wallet services (which enable consumers to pay for goods using their handset) across countries such as Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania. These often take the form of simple USSD solutions that do not depend on smartphone technology and are therefore widely accessible to anyone with access to a phone. Despite the growth in smartphone penetration, the vast majority of mobiles in Africa continue to be 'dumb' phones, and the most successful mobile services and marketing in the region are those making innovative use of these platforms.

The mobile lives of Africans are built on very different foundations to those of consumers in developed markets and both mobile operators and brands making use of the mobile channel must reengineer their propositions and strategies to reflect this. SMS and in particular, USSD technologies often take on a far more significant role than mobile video or banner advertising, and many of the most successful campaigns are built around broadly accessible mobile sites to which consumers can be invited via simple text messages. Developed-market mobile strategies cannot simply be imported to African countries. Innovative approaches to data capture and mobile engagement are also essential in an environment where phones are often shared and usage can be sporadic.

Download the full report below, or visit TNS Intelligence Applied for more thought leadership and insights from TNS.

Source : Kantar TNS

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