Phone firms shift focus to post growth | Daily Nation | Jevans Nyabiage
Mobile phones are slowly starting to replace personal computers in sub-Saharan Africa, where a PC is still quite expensive.
Mobile phone service operators are betting on data to grow their revenues as income from voice nears saturation.
Telecom research firm, Frost & Sullivan says data services is the next kid on the block for mobile phone firms if they have to register continued growth.
This, the firm says, is because mobile phones are no longer seen as a tool for basic phone calls and text messages only.
The just-released annual results for operator MTN confirm the growing role of data services for African mobile firms.
The group reported that approximately 15 per cent of its revenue last year came from data.
Frost & Sullivan’s ICT analyst Silvia Venter says this is an indication that the days of data consisting only of basic SMSs and accounting for less than 10 per cent of an operator’s revenue are gone.
She says mobile phones are slowly starting to replace personal computers in sub-Saharan Africa, where a PC is still quite expensive.
In Kenya, Safaricom recently said it is shifting its over-reliance on voice which is reaching saturation with new frontiers like data and value added services, which it bets to grow its future revenues.
According to chief commercial officer Peter Arina, over the past three years the firm has invested about Sh7.5 billion in a bid to establish a cross-section of technologies aimed at positioning the firm as a serious data player.
Although there are no public figures on the uptake of data for the other operators, their aggressive marketing for the same points to the ongoing battle.
Telkom Kenya bets on its fixed line to increase data solutions while Zain Kenya recently signed agreements with 45 telecoms operators around the globe to allow it expand international roaming coverage for data services.