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MOBILE phone usage in Africa has increased dramatically over the past five years, with Tanzania accounting for 5 per cent of mobile phone subscribers in the sub-Saharan region, according to a new study.

By the end of 2008, Africa had 246 million mobile subscriptions, and mobile penetration has risen from just five per cent in 2003 to well over 30 per cent today, says a report released in Johannesburg by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) last week. Read More The ITU research shows that African countries are facing a number of challenges in increasing information communication technology (ICT) levels. These include lack of full liberalization of markets and limited availability of infrastructure, such as shortage of international Internet bandwidth.

The 76-page report says Nigeria has the highest number of subscribers (26%), followed by South Africa (19%) and Kenya (7%).