In an interview with Summit TV this week, Andrew said that the challenge for operators will be to deliver on demand as it grows, and at a lower cost.
“One gigabyte per user per day, that’s where we see the market going to. By the year 2020, networks should be able to deliver that,” the MD said when questioned about growth opportunities in SA.
He said that recent studies put Africa as the fastest growth market in terms of mobile growth, albeit off a low base.
The company lead pointed out that Africa does not have too much fixed legacy infrastructure to evolve, meaning that it is able to leapfrog straight to top-end mobile technologies. “I think that is starting to happen,” he said.
Andrew also highlighted studies conducted across the continent, looking at different demographic profiles and different areas, which found that people in the remotest parts have the same expectations in accessing applications from mobile devices as those in urban areas.
“Some of them have not seen these but they’ve heard of it, they know it, they know what it can do and they want it,” Andrew said.
“I think once they get the necessary coverage the applications and use for the device, there is no question of whether the take-up is there – we know it will be there,” he added.
Andrew said that the challenge for operators is to be able to do two things, namely to deliver on demand as it grows, while consumers are also expecting an exponential decline in costs amid a rise in that demand.
“That will be the biggest challenge that operators, especially African operators, will have to face. We have come up with nice solutions for that, but that is a challenge,” he said.
Andrew said that Nokia has come up with concepts like liquid networks “that plug the gap and help operators to achieve that”.
Andrew praised government’s ICT initiatives and increased focus on enabling the roll-out of fibre infrastructure, but also questioned whether it was enough. “There is always more that can be done.
“Certainly the acknowledgement is there now…if you want to really increase your economically active population, if you really want to push up the GDP of the country, firstly the acknowledgement is there that you need broadband penetration. You need to maximise that,” he said.
“I think what we’d like to see is more incentives being introduced, but certainly the processes is being made simpler so when you apply for regulatory approvals to roll out fibre, to actually put up the different towers and masts, that these process actually happen quicker, and are more enabling in nature,” Andrew said.