Africa: The one place mobile technology sector cant ingore

Tech investors know that it takes more than a great product to bring in great returns. Tapping the right market at the right time is almost as important as creating the most innovative product. That’s why the latest numbers from the International Telecoms Union, or ITU, are so important.

The data show mobile subscriptions are on the rise, but not all markets are growing, and companies that don’t head the trends could miss out on big gains.

Searching for non-saturation
According to the ITU, by the end of 2014 there will be more mobile device subscribers in the world than people. We’re already ridiculously close, with 6.8 billion mobile subscribers and 7.1 billion people in the world.

The pervasiveness of mobile devices isn’t the most fascinating fact, though, and not even close to what’s important for tech investors. It’s all about where the growth hasn’t occurred. The graph below shows which regions of the world have already reached mobile saturation and which areas still have lots of room for growth.

The Commonwealth of Independent States (formerly the Soviet Union) has the highest mobile cellular penetration, while Africa holds the most potential for mobile companies.

Tapping the untapped
The latest numbers from Canalys show Samsung outpacing both Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) and Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) in overall mobile devices shipments, including notebooks. In the first quarter of 2013, Samsung took over 26% of worldwide smart device shipments, Apple took over 19%, and Microsoft had 18%. Adapted from

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