Africa, specifically the southern region, is going through a transition much like the U.S. did several years with the change-over from analog to digital transmission.
Africa is moving toward the European DVB-T2 digital standard and has several deadlines to move things along. The timetable for the region targets the end of 2013, which provides breathing room to make the switch and incorporate the digital technology. The real deadline however is a bit later, in 2015, when the International Telecommunication Union will no longer support analog TV transmissions.
The momentum is there for a sooner-than-later transition due to technology used in current mobile TV devices. Telegent Systems produces mobile TV receivers that are used in handsets mainly sold to consumers in Latin America, Africa, the Middle East, Asia and India, where analog transmission continues to operate as the primary broadcast standard. The company has seen wide adoption and increased sales, starting in 2007. It will have shipped over 100 million units by the end of this year. Telegent has been successful with this transition by primarily focusing on hybrid systems and technology; products it produces actually support analog and digital simultaneously. The company has a focus on Southeast Asia and Latin America, large mobile TV markets, but sees Africa as having real growth momentum and potential, primarily due to the switch to digital, consumer adoption and need for advance technology.
It should be no surprise that the growing mobile TV market in Africa is one worth keeping an eye on. Just as in the U.S., the time of transition is an exciting one, and once the paradigm shift occurs where the region moves from analog roots to a new digital age, technology using a new more robust and flexible digital path advances at a much more rapid pace. While it may be a year, or several, before the change takes a majority percentage, these are certainly exciting times. As long as consumers have a quest for the latest digital mobile options and technology, Africa has a very future ahead of itself on the realm of mobile technology options.