GSMA Mobile 360 Series - 2018 Highlights

2018 Highlights


This central question at Mobile 360 – Africa stimulated debate among all attendees, from startups to regulators, network operators to tech hardware manufacturers, NGOs to banks, and more. For the first time, Mobile 360 – Africa took place in Kigali, Rwanda – a country sculpting a strong national identity around harnessing the collective power of the youth – and brought over 840 attendees to connect and network with the brightest industry leaders in Sub-Saharan Africa.

For the 2018 edition, we explored a number of industry defining topics:

  • Power of Data
  • From Content Consumers to Content Creators
  • Is Africa Inclusive for all?
  • Technology & Business: Advancing life-enhancing services through Mobile
  • Releasing the Potential of Africa’s Young Entrepreneurs
  • Harmonising Technology and People to sustain the Green Agenda
  • Liberating Communities with IOT
  • Technology Innovation + Empowered People = …?

From these sessions, thought leaders shared their insights on the direction the industry is taking across the continent. For example in the Power of Data session, it was argued regulators need to become more like Innovators and consumer data need to be at the forefront as services develop. Robert Shutter (CEO, MTN Group) looked at the amount of data that has grown in Africa and how can that data be used to develop new services to help more people become connected. Stephen Chege (Director, Corporate Affairs, Safaricom) argued that telcos can create services and have a roll to play across all sectors including health, education, and agriculture.

In the Access to Adoption session, Kenfield Griffith (CEO, mSurveys) asked how well do telcos know their consumers. With all the data acquired, does it say anything about what the consumer actually want? We also learned from the recent Mobile Economy – Sub-Saharan Africa report there is a 44% mobile subscriber penetration rate in Africa and projected to rise to 52% by 2025.

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#BetterFuture Stage

The new #BetterFuture Stage traced the journey of Africa’s digital successes and challenges. We welcomed presentations from Google, Women4Tech, Telepin, Kirusa, Mastercard, celo, Mahindra Comviva, AFR, and MFS Africa. Mastercard also presented a breakfast briefing entitled Moving Beyond a Transactional Mindset.

Predictions Panel

In a bid to consolidate over 50 individual sessions on navigating Africa’s digital landscape, we gathered our panel of experts to discuss the outcomes of the event and deduce what they think the future might hold. Our panel concluded 9 predictions that they believed we would see come true in the next 12 months in the continent.

Africa View Predictions

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  • Akinwale Goodluck, Head Sub Saharan Africa, GSMA
  • Dorcas Muthoni, CEO and Founder, Openworld
  • Mariam Abdullahi, Africa Industry Lead, Telecommunications, SAP Africa
  • Simon Karikari, Managing Director, Tigo Tanzania


  1. Smartphone penetration in Africa’s top telecoms markets will exceed 35% by end of 2019
  2. Mobile Industry will be the subject of aggressive excise duty taxes with increasing taxation of Mobile Money and Data access
  3. MNOs and Towercos are on a big collision course and Regulation will be required to address this impending bottleneck
  4. The structure of Africa financial services sector will begin to shift due to immense pressure from fintech, blockchain and mobile money
  5. There will be increased adoption of 4G driven by devices’ cost reduction, improved customer experience and the development of relevant data offerings and applications
  6. 4G will be the standard for NGN in SSA
  7. African Telcos increasingly becoming Software as Service provider
  8. African Telcos increasingly IoT platform enablers
  9. African Telcos increasing eCommerce activites
  10. Africa’s E-commerce to take centre stage driven by the ratification of the Tripartite Free Trade Area (TFTA) agreement

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