Why Africa may be the next big enterprise mobility market
A number of African countries are investing heavily in 4G LTE networks, which is expected to fuel demand for enterprise mobility, according to a new report by ABI.
In a recent example of Africa's rush to develop 4G, Swedish equipment maker Ericsson signed an agreement with Angolan mobile operator Unitel to roll out a 4G LTE network in that country. Under the agreement, Ericsson will design and implement the LTE network, as well as install cell sites.
Overall, mobility is exploding in Africa. In 2012, there were almost 650 million mobile subscriptions on the continent, more than in the United States or the European Union, according to a report by the World Bank and the African Development Bank.
"In some African countries, more people have access to a mobile phone than to clean water, a bank account or even electricity," the report noted.
Reflecting greater enterprise mobility demand, South Africa's Securicom recently announced that it would make the Zenprise 7.01 mobile device management tool available to African companies. Securicom is working through a partnership with South Africa's Blue Turtle Technologies.
Another indication of Africa's enterprise mobility market growth is the IT Leaders Africa Summit, which is being held in Johannesburg, South Africa in March. It will address BYOD opportunities and challenges, according to a report by CIO East Africa.
The summit will focus on BYOD security, with agenda topics such as ways to configure secure networks, restrict applications and encrypt data.
The demand for mobile IT in Africa is growing as firms seek to translate the widespread availability of mobile connectivity into greater productivity and profit. Mobile IT vendors who wait until the market is more mature will lose out on lucrative business opportunities.