Mobile voice technology usage in Africa has remained stable and the situation is likely to persist at least until the end of this year – despite increasing adoption of Over the Top (OTT) applications such as instant messaging and social media platforms according to data and analytics research company GlobalData.
Telecom executives across Africa initially grappled with these applications, which many said were eating into their traditional revenue streams of voice.
However, operators from Zimbabwe, South Africa, Nigeria, Tanzania and Kenya, among others, have embraced these platforms, coming up with access bundles for social media platforms.
GlobalData says the impact of social media and instant messaging applications on mobile voice telephony has not been fully pronounced.
“The average monthly mobile voice usage per subscriber in Middle East and Africa will remain stable until 2018, despite the growing adoption of over the top applications such as Skype, WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger,” claim analysts at the research company.
Telcos across Africa had started to look up to data and mobile money to cover for the expected decline in voice telephony on anticipation of pressure from over the top applications.
This strategy had appeared to be working for operators such as Econet Wireless and Safaricom in Zimbabwe and Kenya respectively as income from the two categories grew.
“Despite the growing number of mobile data subscribers, the average monthly mobile minutes of use per subscriber has grown in a number of markets in the Middle East and Africa,” added GlobalData.
It explained that mobile operators in Tunisia “have been offering generous mobile voice bonuses for prepaid customers” with Ooredoo and Tunisie Telecom offering 100% bonus on top-ups. NetOne and Telecel in Zimbabwe also offer bonus credit on top-ups.
However, analysts believe the impact of OTT on mobile voice telephony has not been fully pronounced.