The number of broadband connections, both fixed and wireless, in Africa is expected to reach more than 7-million by 2011 – with DSL subscribers making up 3,7-million and mobile cellular technologies and fixed wireless broadband fighting it out for second place.
This is one of the findings of BMI-TechKnowledge's latest report, Africa's Emerging Wireless Access and Broadband Markets.
Stephane Tchies, telecoms research analyst and co-author of the report says that the African continent is slowly moving to the uptake of broadband services from a business and consumer perspective.
"In North Africa we are seeing a healthy uptake of services with Morocco reporting 350 000 ADSL subscribers and Egypt 150 000, while on the rest of the continent broadband is starting to gain traction."
According to the report, 76% of current Internet connections across Africa are dial-up, 17% are xDSL, 4% cellular (including GPRS, Edge and 3G/HSDPA) and 2% fixed wireless broadband, including various CDMA variants and early WiMax implementations.
This split will change significantly in future, in favour of wireless technologies, although ADSL will remain dominant, especially in North Africa.
However, Tchies adds that sub-Saharan markets remain restricted due to the current lack of international capacity while the driving force of the uptake of broadband services will be basic Internet access and the ability to deliver voice services.
Richard Hurst, co-author of the report, adds that cumulative investment in ADSL and wireless broadband infrastructure is expected to be $1,1-billion in the next five years, excluding customer equipment.
"These investment figures exclude investments that GSM and fixed line operators are expected to make in their core networks for the provision of voice and other data services, which will also be leveraged to provide broadband data services."
BMI-T Africa's Emerging Wireless Access and Broadband Markets report covers broadband and overall internet subscriber growth by country and by type of wireless and fixed line technology, along with revenue and infrastructure forecasts. These are coupled with overviews of selected countries and service providers in the respective regions of the continent.