Africa is probably the most fertile ground for mobile in this time. Mobile subscriber growth and penetration is growing steadily, and predictions are that the trend will continue. So who are the top dogs of the Mobile Network Operator (MNO) world in Africa?
African Telecom News has some great data and statistics regarding matters such as MNOs, regulators, subscribers and more. According to the site: At the end of 2010 there were some 175 mobile operators with live operations in Africa (excluding MVNOs); compared to 158 active in the first quarter 2008 there were some 158. Approximately 60 percent are affiliated in some way with major international telecommunciations groups e.g. Bharti Airtel, MTN, Vodafone, etc. By the end of 3Q 2010 mobile subscribers in Africa had smashed through the half billion mark and according to Blycroft Mobile Operator database there were some 508.6 million subscribers.
The MNO world appears to be quite a dynamic world in which MNOs can shift ranking (by number of subscribers) fast! For example, in one year, Vodacom South Africa moved from first place in the 2nd quarter of 2009 to fourth in the next year.
Based on data from Blycroft, a UK based telecommunications research company with a huge focus on emerging markets, the rankings as at 2010 were as follows:
10. Airtel Nigeria
6. MTN RSA
5. Glo Nigeria
4. Vodacom RSA
1. MTN Nigeria