African telco sector in for strong 2014

Enterprise Innovation editors
04 Feb 2014

A wave of growth in digital and media content over the coming 12 months is expected in Africa as smartphone ownership explodes and the continent's telecom users become more sophisticated in their use of mobile applications, IDC said in a report.

“African telecom service providers are intensifying their efforts to develop their own application stores and generate local content, with smartphone shipments up more than 40% year on year in 2013,” says Spiwe Chireka, program manager for telecommunications and media at IDC Africa.

Chireka said that for the African market this year, enterprise mobility holds promise, but strong growth is yet to materialize. Despite the publicity surrounding enterprise mobility, IDC does not expect the uptake of such services to take off significantly during 2014, at least where mobile service providers in the African market are concerned.

The lines between IT and telecommunications services will become increasingly blurred. IDC expects an increased number of African telecom providers to actively pursue IT service strategies in 2014.

Verticalization will be a key differentiator this year. Current service offerings are standardized, with very little attention given to the specific needs and requirements of different vertical segments. Verticalization, therefore, is a key area of differentiation that remains untapped by telecom providers in the African market.

Fiber strategies will move from backhaul/backbone to FTTx. IDC expects to see a shift in the focus of terrestrial fiber rollouts in 2014, with telecom service providers expanding their current fiber infrastructures to offer last-mile, enterprise-grade connectivity to enterprises.

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