Russell Southwood
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Cheaper mobile internet and low-cost smartphones come together with apps sub-Saharan Africans want to use (2005–18)
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Before internet use could reach more sub-Saharan Africans, three factors had to align: lower mobile internet prices and faster speeds; cheaper mobile phones with better functionality; and attractive and widespread content apps on these improved phones to breed internet use. The opening part of the chapter looks at this process from two very different perspectives: one, that of a mobile phone fanboy who became an influencer; the other, that of an African mobile executive who grappled with some of the first mobile internet roll-outs. From their different perspectives, they illustrate both the early potential for mobile internet and the barriers it had to overcome.

The chapter then details: the five-year road to cheaper mobile internet prices; how the issue of cheaper smartphones was, and continues to be tackled; and the arrival of Google and Facebook and how they contributed to the increase in African internet users.

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Africa 2.0

Inside a continent’s communications revolution


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