Report: Africa’s Broadband Connectivity Will Surpass One Billion by 2022

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    Emma Okonji

    Ovum, a data, research and consulting business focused on helping digital service providers across globe, has estimated that mobile broadband connections in Africa will rise to over one billion by the end of 2022, up from the 419 million figure it attained at the end of 2017.

    According to the report, Africa’s digital economy will be built on mobile platforms, creating exciting opportunities for farsighted mobile operators to play a key role in the continent’s digital revolution.

    As in many other developing markets in which mobile is outstripping fixed-line networks, it noted that mobile operators were becoming an important provider of, and platform for, a growing range of services.

    In Nigeria alone, active mobile subscribers’ connections had been put at 162 million, with over 100 million internet users, and a teledensity standing at over 116 per cent, as at May this year, according to recent statistics released by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), the telecoms industry regulator.

    According to the latest report, Kenya’s M-Pesa money transfer service, which has helped in boosting Africa’s connectivity, was developed partly by Vodafone, which has compelled mobile operators to partner insurers, retailers, banks and other companies to provide a growing range of innovative services to Africans.

    Air time, was even being used to replace cash for small payments in most African countries like Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa, the report said.

    According to the report, “In this growing ecosystem, payment solutions that are both secure and customer-friendly are of paramount importance.

    “In particular, as mobile operators offer more and more services, identity fraud is becoming an issue. As a result, the ability to verify customer identity is becoming a business imperative for mobile operators.”

    “However, traditional identity verification methods are subject to manual error and provide a frustrating customer experience. In contrast, a digital and automated identity verification solution can have an immediate impact on fraud reduction and even improve customer enrolment,” the report said.

    “A powerful digital identity verification solution that is automated and integrated into the business process brings a new dimension to customer identity management.

    “While there are a number of associated benefits, we highlight the four key ones for mobile operators to include: Reducing fraud; Streaming customer acquisition; Providing better customer support; and Creating new opportunities through digital services,” the report added.

    In the area of fraud reduction, the report revealed that deploying identity verification services could help to reduce the crime.

    It quoted Technology Research Institute ad saying; “real-time point-of-sale identity verification services are an invaluable aid to stopping fraudsters from exploiting identity theft.”

    “For example, since Orange introduced Gemalto’s identity verification tool, fraud in some stores was reduced by 100 per cent. “Additionally, performing identity verification in front of customers was found to discourage criminals from even attempting fraud.”

    In the area of streamlining customer acquisition, the report explained that mobile operators offer customers a growing range of value-added services such as payments, Internet of Things (IoT) services and peer-to-peer payment solutions, and that the list keeps growing all the time.

    “By deploying an identity verification solution, mobile operators could benefit from a consistent and unique digital identity that covers all services at the same time. “Therefore, when existing customers decide to buy a new service, or extend the functionality they already have, it can be done seamlessly and without any additional inconvenience by using their digital identity,”

    In the aspect of providing better customer support, the report was of the view that deploying a solution that is user-friendly right from the start offers a real advantage because it can be improved over time by gathering feedback from sales staff.

    In creating new opportunities through digital services, the report said a multi-channel solution for identity verification, which also works remotely, provides a great opportunity for mobile operators to take the first step towards the creation of a trusted digital identity.