Over the recent years Africa has experienced a boom in mobile phone use especially in urban areas. Since 2004, Africa has been the fastest growing mobile phone market in the world with a projected Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 22.2% into the year 2011. This sector has evolved into a multibillion dollar industry is terms of revenues.
In the market’s infancy, there were those investors who were able to identify the opportunities and made strategic investments. These investors went on to get great returns on investment and were able to grow big companies. Some of these companies later went public via IPO’s, whilst other players chose to sell their stakes to cash rich investors and international companies. The remaining companies were able to create strong brands that dominate the markets they operate in.
Some of the notable investors include:
• Mo Ibrahim – launched Celtel and later sold it to Zain
• Naushad Merali – launched Kencell, partially sold to Celtel now Zain
• Nigeria’s Glo network
• MTN network that is now dominant in Africa and the Middle East.
• Orascom Telecom of Egypt
Amazingly, this is only the beginning. The above investors and companies have prospered at the inception stage of the mobile industry where the technology filled a void that many consumers yearned. But now with this technology consumers are demanding greater performance from these mobile devices. Therefore phase two growth in the mobile industry is moving away from the hardware and into the software functions.
Through one of our companies, Infonety Wireless (IW) that sees now as an opportune moment to strategically enter this space, as users in many emerging countries demand more functionality beyond basic wireless telephony. IW intends to provide useful programs for the mobile phone (technically referred to as mobile applications or loosely as mobile content), that will enable end users to get more use out of their mobile handsets.