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Africa to have 738m phones by 2013

09 November 2011, 13:52

Africa - Africa is the world's fastest-growing mobile phone market and the poorest continent will be home to 738 million handsets, or nearly three mobiles for every four of its people, by 2013, an industry survey said on Wednesday.

The study by the GSMA, which represents mobile operators, said annual growth in penetration rates in Africa had been almost 20 percent since 2005, with pre-paid subscriptions accounting for 96 percent of services.

However, "huge untapped potential" remained, it said, because more than one in three people in Africa's 25 biggest phone markets still had no access to mobile services.

Voice services continued to dominate the industry, which generates $56 billion in revenues, or 3.5 percent of African GDP, the study said, although data usage was creeping up as 3G and 4G networks were rolled out.

The GSMA urged African governments to give more spectrum to mobile services, saying the current allocations were much less than Europe, the Americas and Asia -- a factor it said was stopping mobile coverage getting to rural area.

- Reuters

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