Report , News of 8 August 2012

Registration of Mobile Phone Users in Africa Depress es Growth in Mobile Telephony

LFL (Copyright)  Handy Mobiltelefon Telefon
Copyright: LFL

Sub-Saharan Africa is seen as a model region in terms of high growth rates in mobile phone use. The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) estimates that between 2000 and 2011 more than 500 million people in the region subscribed to mobile phone networks. According to the ITU, between 2005 and 2010, mobile cellular subscriptions in 47 countries in the region increased by an average of 44 percent per annum. However, this high growth rate could diminish in future and not only due to market saturation. Many African countries recently introduced legislation requiring mobile phone users to register their SIM cards with their personal identity data. Unregistered SIM cards will be disconnected after a statutory period of time. Making customer identification and registration mandatory could potentially depress growth of mobile communications as it results in additional costs for the consumer and a proportion of the population cannot produce identity documentation. Registration also has implications for competition between mobile telecommunications companies and not insignificant repercussions for consumer privacy.

The complete publication in German by Nicola Jentzsch in: DIW Wochenbericht 32/2012 | PDF, 145.31 KB