GSM 3G Event to Take Place in Africa

Informa Telecoms and Media, the leading provider of business intelligence and strategic services to the global telecoms and media markets, has announced today that its 9th annual GSM>3G Africa conference and exhibition, just a few weeks away, would focus on capitalising on the record growth of subscribers in the African continent. Informa’s GSM>3G Africa event will combine a conference programme with over 60 high-level speakers from across the telecoms value chain, and a 100+ stand exhibition to present attendees with a comprehensive, cutting edge picture of opportunities and challenges found in the African markets.

“Africa offers vast opportunities for growth” explained Informa’s Research Manager Julie Rey. “Its mobile subscriber base increased 65.88% in 2005 alone!” The region had a total subscriber base of 146 million at the end of March 2006 with the 5 largest markets of South Africa, Nigeria, Algeria, Egypt and Morocco accounting for 64% of that total. Further, according to Informa Telecoms & Media forecasts, a total of 184 million subscriptions are expected to be added between December 2006 and December 2011.

“However, Africa cannot be viewed as a single entity,” Ms Rey added. “Each area’s political, demographic and economic particulars differentiate its performance in the mobile communications market.” Penetration rates in Africa range from less than half of one percent in Ethiopia to more than 76 percent on the island of Reunion. Third generation services have been launched or are preparing to be launched in a few markets, while in other markets, basic mobile voice services have only recently been rolled out.

Where is the growth to be found in Africa’s various markets? Following the recent rise in the number of mergers and acquisitions, regional consolidation will continue, but as only one of several methods of advancement. Ms Rey explained that “with mobile penetration across the region projected at no more than 20% by end 2006, growth via acquisition is not the only way forward. There is still great scope for organic growth within markets themselves”. She added that, “given the recent innovations in mobile technology, the cost of establishing new networks has dropped substantially, allowing room for operators to grow even in countries with stark economic landscapes.

These issues form some of the underlying themes of the conference agenda at this year’s GSM>3G Africa conference. Indeed this year’s conference agenda includes speakers and panels designed to address the various stages of market growth that industry executives must face within individual African countries. Ms Rey added that “We are delighted to have board-level speakers from many of the continent’s leading markets to share their experiences with the delegates at this year’s conference,” she said, “and indeed the day 2 keynote contains a one-on-one interview with the Chief Executive Officer of MTN Group.”

Informa’s Marketing Manager Stephen Cassidy added that the turnout expected at this year’s GSM>3G Africa event was to exceed previous years by a wide margin. Innovations to help boost participation in 2006 include simultaneous translation of the conference sessions into English and French, significant discounts on delegate passes for African-based companies & International operators and finally a free exhibition only ticket for those not wanting to go to the conference.

“Executives working in African markets know that attending this year’s event is essential to the future success of their businesses,” he said. “We’re prepared to accommodate a record number of visitors, including the highest profile speakers and attendees, at this year’s conference and exhibition.”

This year’s agenda will build on the success of last year’s event with increased numbers of CxO level speakers and non traditional speakers. As many elements of the communications markets in Africa converge this year’s agenda will cover all the key issues, with an increased focus on the areas of Satellite, Content & Entertainment and Wireless Broadband Innovations.

“This show is much more than a mobile telephony event. This focus will be reflected in both the expanded exhibition, with new show floor areas & features, and also the modular nature of the conference agenda,” Mr Cassidy said.

The conference will be held on 19-20 October, 2006 at the International Convention Center in Cape Town, South Africa, latest information is available online.

About Informa Telecoms & Media
Informa Telecoms & Media is the leading provider of business intelligence and strategic marketing solutions to the global telecoms and media markets. Driven by constant first-hand contact with the industry our 90 analysts and researchers produce a range of intelligence services including news and analytical products, in-depth market reports and datasets focused to technology, strategy and content.

Informa Telecoms & Media also organizes more than 125 annual events, attended by more than 70,000 executives. In addition to the GSM>3G World Series, our events cover subjects as diverse as fixed and mobile operator strategy, technology, TV, mobile music and games.