[velti] Demand for mobile phones in Africa has increased significantly in the last seven years, a new report has found.
According to a study by Ernst and Young, the market has expanded by more than 49 per cent since 2002, with penetration levels reaching 37 per cent, AFP reports.
This is the highest rate of growth recorded anywhere in the world in this period, during which the market in Asia grew by just over 27 per cent.
Ernst and Young believes this rapid expansion is likely to continue in Africa, with estimates suggested that penetration levels could reach 61 per cent by 2018.
Serge Thiemele, one of the researchers behind the study, attributed this trend to a number of factors, such as the increased liberalisation of markets and a boom in raw materials.
However, he said it could be expensive to create some of the necessary infrastructure in Africa's developing nations.
Figures from the UN show that more than four billion people across the world are now subscribed to a mobile phone operator.
The number of paying mobile customers was said to have quadrupled in the last seven years.
Ernst & Young: Africa is the world's fastest growing mobile phone market