All the latest stories from across Africa
The last week of February, 2018 saw the world’s leading mobile minds congregate in Barcelona to set the agenda for the coming year in technology. Across the four days of Mobile World Congress (MWC), more than 100,000 visitors from more than 200 countries, and more than 7,500 CEOs descended on Barcelona to hear the latest announcements ranging from the world’s tech giants to smaller, less established firms.
Hundreds of announcements were made each day, with many of the key topics discussed having an impact across the world, and notably in Africa. While the African mobile market is - in comparison to much of the world - less advanced, there are huge opportunities for businesses and consumers alike to make a real difference in a relatively short period of time.
During MWC more than 2,000 companies showcased their latest products and services. Yet while there was a diverse range of items on offer to consumers, three key themes stood out, which are highly relevant to African consumers.
The topic of 5G dominated, with its arrival in developed markets regularly mentioned. The enhanced connectivity 5G will eventually afford will not only increase the speed of communication and commerce, but, specifically for Africa, will encourage the development of better data networks in the short-term.
As mobile phone usage continues to penetrate Africa, with more consumers owning phones than ever before, there is a clear demand for enhanced phone functionality at all levels of the market.
As such, TECNO, itel and Spice brand will launch phones later this year running on the AndroidTM OreoTM (Go edition) operating system. Through doing so, users will be given the opportunity to own a highly efficient, user-friendly phone, many for the very first time.
With more than 3.5 billion people in Africa offline, cost remains a clear driver of sales, particularly amongst first-time buyers. As such, providers must balance product enhancement with accessibility, in order to ensure they can reach consumers, otherwise Africa will not see the mobile penetration and the economic benefits this facilitates.
With MWC now over, and the talking complete, it is up to companies like ourselves to turn plans into actions and continue to push the boundaries not only of who can own a phone in the continent, but also what they can expect it to offer them to enhance their daily lives.