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Smartphone Manufacturers Shipped 1.39 Billion Handsets in 2021

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Global smartphone manufacturers shipped a combined 1.39 billion handsets in 2021, the latest Counterpoint Research data has revealed. This represents a 4 percent year-on-year increase, the first increase since 2017.

According to the data, smartphone manufacturers shipped about 1.56 billion mobile devices globally in 2017, after which the number of shipments subsequently declined in the years that followed.

Counterpoint Research also noted that the growth occurred despite the pandemic and worldwide chip shortage. A senior analyst at the firm, Harmeet Singh Walia attributed last year’s shipments growth to pent-up demand in North America, Latin America and India.

It should be recalled that major mobile device and accessory manufacturers shut down production in 2020 at the peak of the pandemic. This affected both sales and supply of smartphones globally.

In the United States, the rise in shipments was largely driven by “demand for Apple’s first 5G-enabled iPhone 12 series seeping through to the first quarter of 2021″, from the previous year, Walia said. Demand during Black Friday sales and holiday promotions in the last quarter of the year also contributed to the surge in sales.

Holding the position as the world’s largest smartphone maker by shipments was South Korean company, Samsung, which shipped about 271 million devices in 2021. This accounts for a 6 percent year-on-year growth as demand for its mid-tier phones increased.

In second place is the iPhone manufacturer, Apple which saw its global smartphone shipments grow by 18 percent year on year to 237.9 million units due to the strong performance of the iPhone 12 series, Investors King has learnt.

Apart from the Black Friday sales in the US, Apple reported a record-high market share in China last quarter, where its shipment volume grew in key markets worldwide.

The research firm in its report stated that Apple, in China “became the top smartphone brand in Q4 after six years thanks to the iPhone 13, consequently overtaking Samsung as the top smartphone globally in Q4 2021.”

With 31 percent year-on-year growth, Chinese smartphone manufacturer, Xiaomi comes behind Apple and Samsung, shipping about 190 million devices. Although its shipment volume was significantly behind the top two, Xiaomi has currently grown to become the world’s third-largest smartphone manufacturer. Investors King understands that Xiaomi is now India’s top smartphone brand after toppling Samsung in 2018.

Although topping the chart, Samsung recently disclosed that it expects demand for smartphones and tablets to decline in the third quarter (Q3)  of2022, down from the final quarter of 2021 due to weak seasonality and uncertainties over component supply.

According to Counterpoint, some of Samsung’s growth was limited by growing competition in markets like India and Latin America. The company has said that it plans to tackle the sales decline by expanding sales of its flagship Galaxy S series devices and roll out competitive, mass-market 5G handsets.

Two other Chinese smartphone makers, Oppo and Vivo were ranked fourth and fifth, shipping 143.2 million and 131.3 million devices, respectively. Both companies, according to Counterpoint, registered double-digit growths last year in 2021.

Counterpoint Analyst, Singh Walia noted that the smartphone market recovery witnessed in last year, “could have been even better if not for the component shortages that impacted much of the second half of 2021. The major brands navigated the component shortages comparatively better and hence managed to grow by gaining share from long-tail brands,” he added.

The research firm expressed optimism that the smartphone industry’s growth in 2022 could be sustained if only the pandemic is controlled globally and if supply chain shortages of semiconductors and other components hindering shipments are resolved by the middle of the year.

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Telecommunications

Impact Amplifier, Google Launch African Online Safety Platform

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Impact Amplifier, with the financial support of Google.org, today launched its African Online Safety Platform (AOSP).

The Africa Online Safety Platform is an Africa-wide project and part of Impact Amplifier’s broader intention to address African Online Safety at a systemic level.

The African internet safety ecosystem is hindered by several issues, key among them is the lack of a central repository of all the online safety research that has been conducted on a broad spectrum of issues in Africa; lack of a central repository for education material for the plethora of online safety challenges relevant for African users; the absence of legal and social media platform support systems that are less complex and time consuming; and underfunding of the needed interventions.

The AOSP has been built to address all these challenges. The platform provides a rich repository of research, education content, funding opportunities and ways to seek help if an online crime has occurred.

The site is intended to address the complexity of understanding what online safety issues are affecting different parts of Africa, how to keep everyone and particularly young people safe online, how to teach online safety formally in schools and at home, funding opportunities for safety innovators, and how to get help if a crime or other violation has occurred.

The event also included a panel discussion with several of Impact Amplifier’s grantees which are part of its ecosystem solution.  These panellists reflected online safety innovators from South Africa and Kenya who discussed some of the complexities and solutions to staying safe online in Africa.

The panellists from South Africa were Craig Rosewarne, Managing Director Wolfpack Information Risk and Camaren Peter, Director/Executive Lead, Centre for Analytics and Behavioural Change (CABC). Those from Kenya were Dennis Ratemo, Programme Manager, Terre des Hommes and Martha Sunda, Executive Director, Childline Kenya. Their discussions underscored the importance of solutions that were suited to local contexts in Africa.

Google SA Country Director, Dr Alistair Mokoena said: “We first partnered with Impact Amplifier in 2020, when we announced the initial fund. We have now launched version 2.0 to show that we remain committed to providing sustained and dedicated support to the online safety ecosystem in Africa, in order to ensure that vulnerable populations are protected from online harms and reap the benefits of the internet. We encourage the relevant parties to use this amazing new education and research resource and to apply to the fund.”

Speaking at the event, Impact Amplifier Director, Tanner Methvin said: “With over 570 million people having access to the internet in Africa, reflecting just under 47 per cent of the continent’s population, online safety concerns deserve utmost attention.”

The new platform, Methvin added, “offers innovative approaches to addressing the complex safety issues the internet presents. These range from unique ways of combating mis and disinformation, tracking of cyber criminals, supporting journalists targeted with hate speech and bullying, integrating online safety training into school curriculums, and much more,” he concluded.

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Nigeria Sees 707% Surge in 5G Subscriptions Since May 2023

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5G subscriptions in Africa’s largest economy Nigeria jumped in the last seven months as more Nigerians continue to embrace 5G connection.

According to recent data from the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), 5G subscriptions grew by 707% since May 2023 to 2.14 million in November of the same year.

This surge in 5G subscriptions reflects a growing appetite for advanced connectivity solutions among Nigerian consumers and businesses alike.

The advent of 5G technology promises unprecedented speed, reliability, and network capacity, laying the groundwork for revolutionary innovations across various sectors of the economy.

While 5G subscriptions have experienced exponential growth, the dominance of second-generation networks (2G) still persists in Nigeria’s mobile network landscape.

Despite the surge in 5G, 2G remains the primary mode of connectivity, controlling a significant portion of the market with 59.32% of total mobile subscriptions.

The rise of 5G subscriptions underscores the country’s commitment to embracing cutting-edge technology and fostering digital inclusion nationwide.

The deployment of 5G networks across Nigeria signifies a pivotal step towards unlocking new opportunities for economic growth, innovation, and social development.

In response to the burgeoning demand for 5G connectivity, major telecommunications providers in Nigeria, including MTN Nigeria, Airtel Nigeria, and Mafab Communications, have rolled out their own 5G networks.

These initiatives reflect a concerted effort to expand network coverage and enhance connectivity infrastructure across the country.

As Nigeria continues on its path towards digital transformation, the surge in 5G subscriptions signals a promising future characterized by enhanced connectivity, innovation, and socioeconomic progress.

The rapid adoption of 5G technology is poised to drive Nigeria’s digital agenda forward, positioning the country at the forefront of the global telecommunications landscape.

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Airtel Africa Director John Danilovich to Retire After AGM

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Airtel Africa plc, a prominent telecommunications and mobile money services provider across 14 countries in Africa, is undergoing a significant change in its board composition.

The company has disclosed that John Danilovich, an independent non-executive director, intends to retire from his position following the conclusion of this year’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) in July 2024.

John Danilovich’s decision to retire marks the end of an era characterized by his valuable contributions to Airtel Africa plc.

As an independent non-executive director, Danilovich has played a pivotal role in guiding the company’s strategic direction and governance practices.

During his tenure, Airtel Africa has witnessed notable growth and expansion, solidifying its position as a leading telecommunications and mobile money services provider on the African continent.

Danilovich’s leadership and expertise have undoubtedly been instrumental in steering the company through various challenges and opportunities in the dynamic telecommunications landscape.

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