The Ever-Growing Penetration of Mobile Internet in Africa

Mobile internet is turning out as one of the massively-utilized modes of worldwide connectivity, and the channel for this kind of connectivity is smartphones for multiple users. It is due to technological advancements it had allowed the phone to take over the place of laptop or desktop computers across regions of the world where Internet connections are recently adopted. So, today our post will focus mainly on mobile internet penetration in Africa.

Irrespective of the perks of internet connectivity that it offers, accessing smartphones and mobile internet throughout Sub-Saharan Africa along with the entire globe is made possible. In this discussion, we will portray the popularity of the smartphone for mobile Internet connectivity throughout Sub-Saharan Africa, and the globe is possible by consulting data across various studies on this topic.

Spread of Mobile Internet Penetration in Africa

Although strong, the mobile internet connectivity across Sub-Saharan Africa is quite erratic, appearing that a few distinctive populations have more significant penetrations than others. For instance, in SSA entirely, there is a penetration rate of mobile internet users of about 23%, while the penetration rate of mobile internet users is 83% in Kenya.

Nigeria is the other region in Sub-Saharan Africa where the penetration of internet connectivity is extremely high. At the same time, South Sudan is the best instance of a nation that has yet to make any distinctive moves towards the massive adoption of the mobile internet. There are greater highs and lows of penetration rates in the SSA battling one another whenever averaged, so it is essential to check out the populations in SSA individually to identify the growth potential and the thriving marketplace.

The spread of mobile Internet accessibility in Africa varied due to several factors. There are investments made by the telecoms impacting the affordability and accessibility of internet services, for instance. Depending on mobile money instead of physical cash is also the reason for guiding more people across different populations into emphasizing the monthly payments for the data plans.

Identically, there are better populations of individuals in Africa who are still new to the use of mobile phones and need more access to the latest technologies, especially the rural populations. Although there is certainly substantial growth in mobile Internet use, it consumes a lot of time before mobile internet connectivity, which is in the hands of all in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Insights into African Countries and Massive Distributed Population

Although the total population of Africa is quite considerable, there is an uneven distribution of the density of the population. Only seven countries comprise about 50% of the entire population, with 58 countries forming the African content, while 16 countries account for 75%, which is closer to one billion.

There is greater use of mobile networks for better internet accessibility is the norm or the guidelines set due to the inaccessibility and isolation of the communities and cities in a couple of African countries, specifically in the interior of the continent, and a lack of historic infrastructure or a terrestrial connectivity supporting wired broadband.

Younger types of blood are driving online & mobile entertainment development

Africa is distinctive demographically since it has the youngest population on the continent. As noted in 2021, around 40% of the population is aged 15 years or younger compared to the global average of 26%. The median age across the content is around two decades representing higher demand for eSports and gaming in Africa.

It is the demand that is met with affordable and omnipresent access to the internet. The more juvenile and mobile-savvy population represents a growing sector for mobile or telecom and OTT providers.

Online entertainment in Africa includes video streaming services which are under a rapid phase of growth. It is stimulated by the younger population, including greater internet connectivity, and the world’s largest entertainment companies lining up to satisfy their demand through a massive audience. But, it is satisfying to check out the content generated locally with media experiencing greater demand which is predicted to exceed the global giants.

Evaluating the maturity of the internet services

The Internet Society or ISOC is advocating the primary role of internet exchanges to create local hubs for online traffic exchanges and distribution of content through the public peer under the initiative of “Moving Toward an Interconnected Africa.” It aimed at delivering rich end-user experiences at fewer costs. These IXPs offered a platform for caching the local content, reducing the global traffic tromboning and low latencies. The outcome is affordable access and enhanced end-user experiences promoting internet use and growth in traffic, increasing the revenues of broadband ISPs and mobile network operators across the righteous cycle.

The responsibility of Digital corridors to expand internet accessibility

We noted that across the Middle East, Digital Corridors stated that the government regulations and the telco cartels harmed the cost whenever they had restrictive competitive choices. The main factor here is the general theme distributed across Africa that affected the growth of the internet/broadband penetrations, which relies on the central governments controlling the broadband access to their citizens.

The closer regulations of earthbound broadband are offering their investors restricted opportunities for developing and innovating fixed infrastructures, impacting the affordability for the massive population under the distinctive number of countries.

They are considering the growth of the digital corridors in Africa, and the growing availability of affordable network technologies has made the penetration of mobile internet at a greater scale. Some factors are limiting the growth of Internet services along with the development of a digital economy which involves: limited access to the capacity through regulations and policies, pricing of this capacity, and insufficient local network capacities without any investment.

At any point in time, this inflated pricing within these telecommunication networks supports the internet services affecting the whole end-to-end value chain negatively, resulting in the lack of adequate and affordable bandwidth that decreases the end-consumer consumption and depresses the revenues of the service providers.

The affordability of the accesses and the enhanced end-user experience promote internet use and growth in traffic, increasing revenues for the broadband service providers and mobile network operators in the righteous cycle.

The high-capacity submarine cable systems are the ones that support the digital media giants bringing greater capacity and more competition in the digital sphere for the African nations and coastal cities. It, therefore, established a downward pressure on the transit of the upstream internet pricing that positively affected the whole end-to-end value chain.

But, for the interior cities in Africa and the blocked-in nations, the cost of the national carrier and backbone services to the coastal hubs continues to impose a brake on growth unless of the limited competition, capacities, and constraints to affordability through the inland routes being addressed by the government, local content producers, and the ISPs.


The use of smartphones and the internet will continue growing globally, and there will be greater mobile internet penetration in Africa. The requirement of smartphones will become more demanding in the future, with them being the main source of connection to the world. In Africa, some populations are still backward in the adoption process; however, moving towards it is growing exponentially.


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