The African continent continues to attract substantial investments into its telecommunications markets, with the combined fixed and mobile cumulative capex for Africa since the Year 2000 expected to grow from US$76.1 billion in 2008 to US$141.1 billion by 2013, adding cumulative investments of US$68 billion in the period.
Fezekile Mashinini, telecoms analyst at BMI-Techknowledge (BMI-T) and author of the report behind the figures says that the mobile sector is the source of growth, with an estimated 68.5% (US$98.8 billion) of all cumulative investment attributable to this sector as fixed-mobile substitution continues and mobile operators drive infrastructure investments to keep on track with increasing customer numbers.
Africa recorded a year-on-year growth of 31.1%, reaching an estimated 405 million subscribers, with the fixed networks accounting for 7.5%. The mobile networks unprecedented growth over the past few years continued, with an estimated 94 million new subscribers being added during 2008, to end the year at an estimated 375 million subscribers. BMI-T's forecast for the combined fixed and mobile subscriber market in Africa has placed the total number of subscribers at 782 million by 2013, representing a 14.1% CAGR.
Even though the mobile sector is currently leading the charge in terms of investments, the fixed network sector will also witness heightened investments due mainly to the landing of various under-sea cables. 2009 has witnessed the landing of under-sea fibre cables such as SEACOM, Low Indian Ocean Network (LION), The East African Marine System (TEAMS), and most recently Globacom's "Glo 1" cable. The expected spending by operators on terrestrial links to bring the bandwidth inland is expected to run into millions of dollars.