GSM Conference and Exhibition Opens in East and Central Africa

6/3/2005 - Informa Telecoms & Media's inaugural GSM in East and Central Africa conference and exhibition opened today, amid major presence from key industry figures, at the Whitesands Hotel in Mombassa, Kenya. The two-day event includes a unique combination of sessions on market strategies and technology innovations designed to give individuals working with GSM networks a clear picture of the region's current needs and potentials.

Informa is the world's leading conference producer in the field of mobile telecommunications and wireless Internet, and its executives saw yet another groundbreaking regional conference and exhibition get wide, enthusiastic reception.

"I'm impressed-very impressed-with the turnout we are seeing today," says Informa Marketing Manager Fiona Loud. "I think this reflects the need for a conference like ours. People in the industry really need to keep themselves updated with the latest trends and the most workable solutions."

Loud says the conference's regional focus gives its attendees a strong advantage. "GSM providers in different parts of the world have different needs," she explains. "Informa's GSM East and Central Africa event is giving this region's mobile providers a good sense of how best to grow in environments specific to East and Central Africa."

Africa GSM Association Chairman Vitalis Olunga kicked off the conference's first session with an informative overview of the driving forces behind the region's GSM market. "Despite obstacles such as low level economic development and the grey market there are huge demands and opportunities for cellular telephony in the East & Central African region," Vitalis told the gathering. He noted that the number of subscribers was expected to more than double by 2009.

Vitalis' statements are supported by impressive numbers. Africa surpassed even the Middle Eastern mobile market for growth in 2004 and has registered, for the first time, a higher number of mobile users. Its growth rate has been clocked at 52%, and in 2004 10.7 million Africans subscribed during the first six months alone. But even with over 68 million mobile customers, Africa's markets are by no means saturated. Kenya's penetration rate, for instance is a mere 9.75%, but that is a jump from just 5.9% a year earlier.

Following Olunga's remarks, the heads of Kenya's Safaricom, Michael Joseph, and the Democratic Republic of Congo's Celtel, Martin Dirks presented marketing case studies on gaining a market edge and aggressive commercial strategies.

Kenya's market jumped to five times its size from 2000 to 2001, and has grown steadily since then, doubling in both 2002 and 2003, according to Informa's recently released report, "African Mobile Opportunities."

"This is an exciting day," says Informa Event Researcher Jordan Stone. "The list of attendees is impressive. This could definitely be considered a who's-who of industry figures in East and Central Africa's GSM market."

Still to come a presentations by representatives from the event's sponsors, France Telecom, Huawei and Nokia. Appearances by banking officials, marketing specialists and technology developers will give members of the gathering an inside look at all aspects of the region's GSM market potential as well as the current challenges the industry faces.

"Anyone who is here now will come away from this with a better understanding of his or her field and the possible directions it can take," says Stone. "That's what we are aiming to do: to help people increase their understanding."

About Informa Telecoms and Media
Informa Telecoms & Media is the World's leading conference producer in the field of mobile telecommunications and wireless Internet. Informa Telecoms & Media is committed to providing business intelligence and strategic services to the global telecom and media markets. From research, trend analysis and primary data to conferences and face-to-face training, their unique product offerings, driven by a deep understanding of the markets served, enable customers to make better business decisions.

Informa Telecoms and Media are the producers of the 3GSM World Congress. This year 34,000 executives met at the event to discuss key challenges and opportunities facing the mobile industry. With over 140 strategically focused events annually in telecom, media and IT including the GSM World Series ( which covers Africa, Americas, Asia, India, Central Eastern Europe, Russia, Middle East & Gulf and Central Asia. Every month, more than 10,000 people use the analysis contained in online newsletters, magazines, reports and research services to make business critical decisions. You may find out more at:

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