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African businesses are on an exciting and transformative digital journey. As more services and products move online, new business models are unfolding across the continent – at the heart of which is connectivity. Click To Tweet

Given the rate at which mobile connectivity is growing, it seems only natural that the way business is done will change. But how will Telco’s embrace this change and are they even ready for it?

Innovation in African telecom industry is occurring across two key domains- low cost mobile handsets and mobile payments that present massive growth opportunities. These are the clear market sentiments and are the emerging trends highlighted and debated over by industry players from around the world. Experts are analyzing the situation it poses for telecom operators in particular and the opportunities it presents for Africa to benefit from digitalization. An example of such knowledge sharing space on the growth benefits of digitalization for telecom sector is Africa Com summit, currently taking place in in Cape Town.

Cape Town- South Africa

AfricaCom dates

The interesting part of this narrative sharing is that telecom sector growth factors are analyzed and greatly evaluated. Amongst them, the core one on growth story of the telecommunications sector highlights two integral stages of growth: at first comes basic connectivity and then high-value services of digitization follow.


Connectivity forms the core basis of all the business and hence must be executed profitably. Recently, telecom operators have invested up to 20% of annual revenues in connectivity. In this growth stage, telecom companies are penetrating the markets based on access to millions of connected customers- a base that can generate high cash flows. However, the business level expansion needed, the operators cannot rely on the customers alone and will need to partner with Internet and technology businesses in separate ventures outside the core business.

In the new era of data centricity, markets will be shaped by those operators able to provide a superior network experience which attracts data-focused consumers who are willing to pay for a differentiated quality.

To cash upon the opportunities, obtain a sustainable competitive advantage, and build a satisfied customer base operators need to apply initial changes to their businesses to master customer value management.



Digitization is an essential lever for building competitive advantage. Click To Tweet
The telecommunications industry needs to catch up and introduce digitized business models with two objectives:
  • To meet high levels of customer service satisfaction in the data age
  • Significantly reduce operating expenditures

The digital transformation of Africa is currently in an early stage of development when compared to those in developed markets. The development of the mobile communications market (with a penetration rate of 159.4% during 2016) is however contributing towards the growth of digital transformation in Africa. Mobile operators are rigorously leveraging this well-established mobile communications distribution network to expedite the reach of their business to consumer (B2C) digital offerings; including Video-on-demand (VOD), e-Commerce, mobile payments, and other mobile app-based ICT solutions.

Africa is certainly viewed as a growth target and no longer an emerging market and, the relative strength and growth potential of Africa presents endless opportunities.

To know more about the digitization processes in Africa and the endless avenues that can be explored, join us at the panel discussion today at Africa com.

Author Mahwish Ilyas

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