Cell phone update.


Cell phone unit sales are expected to reach 1-billion units by 2009, according to the research firm Gartner, Inc. (Stamford, CT USA). And nowhere is the social impact of mobile phones felt more strongly than in Africa.

Currently, 74.6 of all phone lines in Africa are cell phones. Cell phone subscribers number 76.8-million people. This is roughly 15 percent of the African population between the ages of 15 and 65. Since cell phones are quite popular with younger consumers, this penetration figure is probably conservative.

In 2003, cell phone sales in the Africa Mid-East region grew 26 percent. Another representative statistic shows African sales growing at a year-to-year rate of 61 percent. (Sources for the previous two paragraphs are: The website itfacts.biz, and Market: Africa Mid-East Statistical Analysis.)

A January 8, 2007 story distributed on the BBC News wires went beyond mobile phone sales statistics to the reality of consumer response "on he ground" in Kenya. The BBC reporter attended an MTV Networks Africa event and was surprised at the extraordinary level of interest on the part of young people as they "mobbed" a cell phone provider booth.

The BBC story said that the MTV event had been promoted exclusively via mobile phone, and that Kenyans were...

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