The fourth annual Mobile Web Africa conference was held in November last year, at The Venue in Melrose Arch. The main theme running throughout the event was the growth of mobile across the continent, and how access to data and connectivity needs to be improved. It also highlighted how mobile has become extensively relevant towards the African economy.
TOP PRESENTATIONS BY LEADING INDUSTRY AUTHORITIES
The first day saw some industry stalwarts making their appearances and impressions. Gustav Praekelt, founder of Praekelt , addressed the crowds on the inherent opportunity in the mobile market. Praekelt as a team have offered significant influence in the mobile market, working with major brands to conceptualise and execute campaigns that work towards combining technology, creativity and innovation to reach a desired goal.
He also mentioned a crucial need to inspect the people’s access to mobile connectivity by way of making it more affordable. This would involve working with service providers to find a solution that’s sustainable for the providers and the 1 billion people living in Africa. In his words, “There are a billion people in Africa and 750 million phones, representing 65% mobile phone penetration. Ninety percent use less than one megabyte of data per month.”
Other speakers included Gift Mphefu, the portfolio manager for Vodacom, who offered insight into the leading mobile network operator’s future plans, as well as speakers from Prezence Digital, Afrinnovator and Indigo Trust, 2go, MXit, biNu and Yookos.
LOOKING TO THE FUTURE OF MOBILE IN AFRICA
1994 saw the inception of the first mobile network in Africa. Since that day, massive developments have been made to the infrastructure that supports mobile, as well as the actual networks that provide the services. Issues regarding distribution have – for the most part – been addressed, but cost is still a factor that affects the communities of the continent. It’s one of the major blockages preventing large-scale uptake for consumers to take full advantage of the technology available to them.
Let’s see if by the time the Mobile Web Africa 2013 comes around if any improvements have been made to the situation. If providers can find a sustainable way to address this situation, mobile web users could have improved, more affordable access, which in turn could have a positive impact on opportunity within the market as well as on the African economy.
What are your thoughts? Should mobile connectivity be made more affordable for the greater percentage of Africa?