The GSMA is forecasting a sharp rise in smartphone uptake in sub-Saharan Africa and the MENA region by 2025

A sharp reduction in the cost of monthly data tariffs, coupled with the emergence of ultra low cost handsets, will lead to an explosion in smartphone uptake across the developing world, according to new data released by the GSMA.

In its annual Global Mobile Trends report, the GSMA highlights the tumbling cost of mobile data in a number of key emerging markets, as a key trend fuelling the rise of smartphone uptake. In Nigeria, for example, a moderate monthly data tariff (of between 600Mb and 2Gb of data) cost 3.9 per cent of the average monthly wage as recently as 2015. By 2017, the price of that same tariff had fallen to just 0.8 per cent of the average monthly wage. Kenya saw a similar reduction in cost, with the same moderate usage tariff costing 3.6 per cent of the average monthly wage in 2015 falling to just 1.4 per cent in 2017.

"From our analysis of pricing data in a range of large developing countries, a ‘medium’ level bundle (600Mb-2Gb) has fallen from between 2-3 per cent of the average income in 2015 to 0.5 – 1 per cent [in 2017]. This particularly matters in developing countries with lower income populations because fixed broadband is not an option," the report read.

Smartphone adoption rates are on the rise across the world, with the most sizeable increase projected to occur in sub-Saharan Africa. Today, the GSMA estimates that 38 per cent of mobile connections in the region are made via a smartphone. By 2025, it predicts that figure will rise to 67 per cent.

The Middle East and North Africa region is also forecast to see steady growth in this area, with 76 per cent of all mobile connections in 2025 being made over a smartphone, up from 57 per cent today.


Also in the news: 

SAIL subsea cable system connects Africa and South America for the first time

Vodafone boosts full fibre connectivity in West Africa

Zambia considers VoIP tax