Cape Town - The number of Africa's mobile subscriptions will reach 761 million this year, making the continent once again the fastest growing market in the world, a research group has claimed.
Pushed on by the continent's robust economic growth and an increasingly competitive marketplace the number of subscriptions in Africa is set to hit one billion by 2015, London-based Informa Telecoms & Media said on Monday.
The group forecasts that the African market will have grown 18% by the end of next year, against the world average of 11%.
"Africa's mobile market continues to grow robustly, driven by competition among mobile operators, the availability of new data services and strong economic growth on the continent," said Africa and Middle East analyst Matthew Reed.
"And substantial opportunities for further growth remain, because the rate of mobile penetration in Africa is the lowest among major world regions and fixed networks are under-developed or absent across much of the continent."
Africa is the world's second largest mobile market behind Asia, but penetration by end-September was only 68%t against a world average of 91%.
Informa forecasts 1.13 billion subscriptions by the end of 2017. The continent's biggest mobile market Nigeria, with 100 million subscriptions, is set to rise to 169 million.
Mobile data is also on the increase, said the firm.
Industry association GSMA said last year that the industry on the continent accounted some 3.5% of total GDP, or $56bn of which mobile operators made up the largest chunk.