Will 2018 Be the Year of the Smartphone in Africa?

A decade after Apple released its revolutionary iPhone, smartphones have become an integral part of many people’s lives around the world. In 2016, about 58% of the population owned smartphones, and this percentage has grown to 63% in 2017.

A recent forecast issued by Zenith Media has predicted that this percentage will reach 66% this year – even if the spread of smartphones has slowed down somewhat in Europe and North America, it will continue to take many other areas – especially Asian and African countries – by storm. Millions will put computers in their pockets, join the online real money gambling trend with secure casino Red Flush, and get connected to the world thanks to these marvelous devices. And for many, smartphones will be not only the main computer they use but the only one.

There is one thing that holds back the spread of technology to emerging countries: the cost. The countries with the highest numbers of active smartphones, like China and the United States – either have the manufacturers right on their doorsteps, which allows them to acquire their handsets at a lower price, or they have a higher average revenue per capita, making them less sensitive to costs. In 2016, just 4% of Ugandans owned a smartphone, though, almost unchanged compared to 2015. But this might change soon.

The market of developed countries is coming close to being saturated, Dominique Friedl, Head of Corporate Sales for South and Sub Saharan Africa at MediaTek told IT News Africa last September. This is why smartphone deliveries have shown a slowing trend in the last couple of years. But Africa’s Middle East region is expected to reach a double-digit growth in 2017, he said, turning into one of the “growth engines” for smartphone manufacturers.

And things are changing at the manufacturers as well. An increasing number of major names in the smartphone market now focus more on producing affordable handsets aimed especially at emerging markets. The average smartphone selling price has shown a downward trend in African countries in the last few years – from USD$230 in 2012 to about $160 in 2015 – and this trend will continue, as smartphones that cost as low as $50 appear in many manufacturers’ offers.

This, along with the release of Android Go, Google’s streamlined operating system for lower-end devices, will bring affordable, yet high-tech handsets to many areas, allowing the users in many areas to get in tune with the latest technology and be connected. This means more demand for mobile broadband, and cheaper data prices in the long run, and continued growth in 2018.


Staff Writer

All articles published by Staff Writer have been contributed by all our reporters and edited and proofread by our editorial team.
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