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Boom in mobile phone usage in Africa Free essay! Download now

Home > A Level > Business studies > Boom in mobile phone usage in Africa

Boom in mobile phone usage in Africa

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Downloads to date: N/A | Words: 4013 | Submitted: 31-Mar-2011
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Boom in mobile phone usage in Africa - low cost prepaid cell phone cards


TMA04 Q1a

Three reasons for the boom in the use of mobile telephones in Africa are lack of fixed lines, simplicity of mobile network implementation and the relatively low running costs of the handset.

Africa’s national telecommunications companies can no longer afford to maintain existing fixed line infrastructures nor can they afford to lay new ones. This has evolved because of poor management and corruption on behalf of the monopolies. To compound this problem, the majority of fixed lines are concentrated within capital cities leaving the rural communities with very few, if any at all, fixed lines. Whilst this is a major contributory factor to mobile telephony, I believe the following two points are the most important.

The simplicity in the creation of a mobile infrastructure in the form of network base stations far outweigh the cost and time factors taken to lay fixed lines, of which can take years to install. Even with the profound corruption within the fixed line companies in the form of “back handers” to accelerate the implementation, fixed lines take too long to be of immediate benefit.

Putting the mobile infrastructure and its installation aside, the most important factor in the success of the mobile telephony boom in Africa is the wide availability and relatively low cost of prepaid cell phone cards. This is a convenient and financially viable way for the African customers who are not too well off, do not have postal addresses or do not conduct maintenance on, or even have, any accounts. This low cost method of communication is responsible for the accelerated growth of the mobile industry within Africa.


Concerns over the sustainability of this mobile boom are raised in 2 forms, one by lack of management and one by economic drain. It is doubtful that the boom will continue because there is a lack of investment strategy and financial management skills at the level of the vendors on the street.

This, coupled with the amount of capital that has been used in the wireless privatisation policy, sheds doubt on the likelihood of this boom continuing. It is also suggested that the lack of use of mobiles for business purposes could have a major impact on the future existence of the wireless industry. It is felt that the aggressive promotion of other economic sectors by wireless communication technology could have a positive impact thus ensuring the future of wireless technology in Africa.

The percentage of people who had a fixed phone in 2004 was 3% (3 in 100).
The percentage of people who had a mobile phone in 2004 was 9% (9 in 100)
The number of subscribers per 100 hundred has risen from ...

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