A new research report has unearthed that over the past years that the West African broadband market has witnessed a dramatic increase in broadband connections mainly due to the deployments of advanced technologies and affordable customer premise equipment as well as tariffs. It was also found that the market earned revenues of $929.9 million in 2009 and estimates this to reach $1.932 billion in 2016. Internet service providers (ISPs) still remain the dominant players in the region, except for Nigeria where mobile broadband connections have outpaced fixed broadband connections. In comparison to other countries, high investments are made in infrastructure development and broadband services present the highest areas for growth opportunities due to the decline in voice revenues.
The West African region is characterized by poor telecoms infrastructure. Mobile broadband connections have outpaced fixed broadband connections in many countries in the region. This trend is likely to be observed in key markets like Cameroon and Ivory Coast in the next 5 years. The low fixed penetration shows that the majority of population can only access broadband services via their handsets. The low levels of broadband penetration in the region indicate that there is room for growth opportunities across the region.
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The key challenge faced by market participants is the high cost of customer premise equipment. Limited availability of bandwidth, paralleled by high costs and the low disposable income of the majority of the population across the region, also poses challenges. A number of factors currently hamper the growth of this region including low disposable income. Poor telecoms infrastructure and shortage of bandwidth in most countries in the region also threaten to dampen market prospects.
Facing challenges and restraints in the broadband market, ISPs and mobile operators are expected to improve the quality of services through continuous infrastructure investment like network capacity upgrade and deployments of new technologies. Developing innovative solutions such as cyber cafés that target the mass market and partnering with content providers to offer localized content are some approaches that ISPs and mobile operators can deploy. These strategies will help drive up the demand for broadband services.
Source: Wireless Federation