Africa’s overall mobile phone market grew 4.6 per cent quarter on quarter (QoQ) in Q4 2020, according to the latest figures announced by International Data Corporation (IDC).
The global technology research and consulting services firm’s newly released Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Trackerreveals that feature phone shipments to the region grew 7.6 per cent QoQ in Q4 2020, while smartphone shipments increased 0.7 per cent over the same period.
However, when the data is analyzed year on year (YoY), smartphone shipments were down 5.5 per cent on the corresponding quarter of 2019, while feature phone shipments were down 8.0 per cent. Looking at the year as a whole, Africa’s overall mobile phone market declined 10.0 per cent YoY in 2020, due in large part to the negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in the first half the year.
QoQ, South Africa led the way in the smartphone space, with shipments increasing 16.3 per cent in Q4 2020. The Nigerian smartphone market grew 12.1 per cent QoQ, while Egypt’s growth was much slower at just 1.8 per cent.
George Mbuthia, a research analyst at IDC, “South Africa imposed a total market lockdown in Q1 and Q2 2020, causing a buildup of pent-up demand that led to high growth rates in Q3 and Q4 2020,” says. “In Nigeria, Chinese vendors were keen on pushing high volumes of units during Q4 2020 when the dollar rate was stable. Egypt, on the other hand, experienced a slow growth rate due to high sell-in in Q3.”
Transsion brands (Tecno, Itel, and Infinix) led the African smartphone market in Q4 2020 with a combined unit share of 48.2%. Samsung and Oppo placed second and third with respective unit shares of 16.1% and 6.4%. The average selling price (ASP) of smartphones grew 5.6% QoQ due to the launch of new models by various vendors in the midrange and high-end price bands. Shipments of devices from the lowest price band ($0<$80) declined 14.5% QoQ in Q4 2020, while the $200<$300 band saw the highest growth, with shipments of these devices increasing 43.7%.
4G devices accounted for 83.9% of the smartphones shipped in the African market during Q4 2020; 3G devices garnered 15.4% share, with 5G devices accounting for the remaining 0.7%. “The infrastructure investment required on the telco side to drive 5G adoption is understandably lacking at the moment, since the primary desire of telcos is to utilize their existing 4G capacity,” says Mbuthia . “On the device side, most vendors are now starting to launch their 5G models in the market, and the cost of 5G devices is expected to decline significantly over the medium term, leading to much faster growth for 5G handsets.”
Looking ahead, IDC expects smartphone shipments into Africa to grow 2.9% YoY in 2021. “The first half of the year is likely to be slower as vendors face component shortages,” says Ramazan Yavuz, a senior research manager at IDC. “However, a recovery is expected to start from the second half of 2021. With the expansion of vaccination programs and a subsequent slowdown in the spread of the COVID-19, markets across the region are expected to return to normal in H2 2021, with retail channels performing better and purchasing power starting to improve.”
Network International Taps Hany Fekry to Head Northern and Sub-Saharan Africa
Network International, the leading enabler of digital commerce across the Middle East and Africa (MEA), has announced the appointment of Egyptian national Hany Fekry as Regional President – Northern and Sub-Saharan Africa.
In his new role, Hany will be responsible for all aspects of Network’s acquiring and issuing business in Egypt and Nigeria, and for developing and implementing a comprehensive strategy to drive Network’s business growth and increase digital payments adoption in Northern and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Hany joined Network in 2016 as Managing Director for Egypt and and Deputy Managing Director for Africa, leading the company’s business development activities across the Northern and Sub-Saharan region. Previously, he served as the Chief Commercial Officer of Emerging Markets Payments (EMP) Africa, which was acquired by Network International in 2016. Hany’s more than 20-year career has included developing business in markets including Egypt, Nigeria, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iraq.
Nandan Mer, Group CEO of Network International, commented: “Building an effective payments infrastructure requires a thorough understanding of the needs of local merchant and issuer clients to address their pain points and build locally relevant payments solutions.
Since joining the team in 2016, Hany’s deep understanding of the opportunities and challenges in digital payments adoption across Northern and Sub-Saharan Africa has been instrumental in helping Network deliver customised and relevant solutions. I am confident he is the right person to strengthen our offering to clients, in addition to driving greater inclusion and building a stronger payments infrastructure in these fast-growing markets.”
Hany Fekry, Regional President – Northern and Sub-Saharan Africa, added: “This is an incredibly exciting time for Network, with tremendous opportunities to accelerate the positive trends in digital payments across the region and increase financial inclusions. I look forward to helping build a best-in-class payment ecosystem that will support local merchants and financial institutions, and positively impact the economies across the Northern and Sub-Saharan African markets.”
Liquid Intelligent Accelerates Digital Economy in South Africa
Liquid Intelligent Technologies (Liquid) South Africa, part of the leading pan-African technology group Liquid Intelligent Technology today, announces the successful completion of two key digital corridors – NLD5 and NLD6 connecting Durban to Cape Town via the inland route.
The completion of this fibre network will support the surging demand for high-speed internet as an increasing number of local businesses continue their digital transformation journeys.
Increased access to high-speed fibre connectivity is critical to improving not just telecommunication services for millions of South Africans in the country. It will also bring substantial social and economic benefits to businesses and governments as the focus on the Fourth Industrial revolution increases. This route forms part of the Southern corridor that Liquid has invested in connecting East to West Africa via a terrestrial network.
“The completion of these two digital corridors is yet another milestone achieved as part of our on-going investment into the South African economy. Liquid has been instrumental in the fruition of routes 1 through to 8, providing a digital backbone that connects metropolitan cities like Cape Town, Johannesburg and Durban to more remote areas like Nelspruit Bloemfontein, Lady Smith, Mthatha.
“This is also part of our Group’s continued focus on bringing world-class digital services like Cloud, Unified Communications, Internet of Things (IoT), and Artificial Intelligence (AI) to local businesses in the public and private sectors,” said Deon Geyser, CEO Liquid Intelligent Technologies, South Africa.
Spanning over 1700 km, the near-unlimited capacity and greater redundancy offered on these digital corridors will positively impact numerous industries, especially educators and healthcare practitioners, as they increase their reach to the remotest parts of the country. Access to improved digital services will also impact the education system in the country as the government gears to empower more youth with digital skills as newer vocations develop through the 4IR.
These routes symbolise Liquid’s high-level digital infrastructure capability and continued and unwavering commitment to steer and create sector growth opportunities aggressively whilst increasing its market share.
Liquid recently culminated its extensive business transformation from being a telecommunications and digital services provider to a full one-stop-shop technology group. This expansion is one more step that reiterates Liquid’s commitment towards improving customer service and delivery of products towards the wholesale, enterprise, and SMEs market in the country.
Facebook Rolls Out Instagram Lite to Sub-Saharan Africa and Other Emerging Markets
Facebook has announced the launch of Instagram Lite to Sub-Saharan Africa, a new, lightweight version of the Instagram app for Android that uses less data and works well across all network conditions.
The new version of Instagram Lite for Android is less than 2MB in size, making it fast to install and quick to load. It also has improved speed, performance, and responsiveness. Instagram Lite not only works similarly to the Instagram app for Android, but it allows the Instagram experience to remain fast and reliable for more people, no matter what device, platform and network they use.
Commenting on the rationale for introducing the app to Sub-Saharan Africa, Engineering Manager for Instagram Lite, Peter Shin said, “Connectivity in the region can be unstable, slow and expensive, making it challenging for people to have a high-quality Instagram experience. Many people were already familiar with the concept of a Lite app after the successful roll-out of Facebook Lite some years ago. We started testing the new version of Instagram Lite when people across the continent started asking for a Lite app for Android. The feedback was very positive and we are excited to launch it across the continent today”.
“Our team aims to leave no one behind, so today we are very excited to bring Instagram Lite to people in over 170 countries, including the entire Sub-Saharan Africa region,” he added.
Instagram Lite is similar to the core Instagram app experience, though some features are not currently supported, such as Reels creation, Shopping, and IGTV. Instagram Lite is likely to gain appeal to users in locations with limited bandwidth or high data costs, especially in the developing world.
Instagram Lite is currently rolling out in over 170 countries, and Facebook remains committed to building and improving the app to help everyone in the world connect to the people and things they love.
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