Data demand is growing exponentially as consumers switch to smartphones, tablets and wearable devices. Consequently, the need for high-speed data network capacity is also rising, and telecommunications providers are forced to spend substantial amounts on optic-fibre connectivity and upgrading 3G networks to 4G (LTE) networks. Consumers now expect to pay less for more data, which means the industry has to restructure to achieve capital efficiency. This gives rise to new business models for some of the larger participants and the emergence of smaller providers of shared infrastructure. These new entrants need innovative funding to allow their operations to expand rapidly. More mobile subscribers are acquiring smartphones (a segment expected by global mobile operators’ body the GSMA to grow from 27% of mobile subscribers in 2016 to more than 50% by 2020) and using data-rich applications such as YouTube and Facebook. This means data usage in sub-Saharan Africa is expected to grow expone...

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