Opera has released its State of the Mobile Web report for 2016 and it reveals some interesting facts about web denizens in Africa.

For one, there are as many as 100 million people on the continent using Opera’s browsers for mobile and desktop. Opera says that it has 86.41% of the mobile browser market share in Kenya compared to Chrome’s market share of just 3.68%. In South Africa Opera’s mobile browser accounts for 53.1% of the market share while Chrome makes up just 17.92% of the market.

Kenyans along with Ghananians, Seychellois and Mauritians are the biggest consumers of data according to Opera which says that those citizens use an average of 160MB of data every month.

While these are interesting numbers, the most interesting figures relate to how much money Opera has saved its users.

The firm offers users a data management tool called Opera Max which uses compression to lessen the size of webpages. This compression has allegedly saved South African $111m (over R1bn) this year alone.

“We believe data compression is as relevant and useful now as it was a decade ago – in fact, with the growth of smartphone penetration coupled with prohibitively high data costs, it’s a critical enabler,” says vice president for Opera Africa, Richard Monday.

We’re going to need a bigger tower

One of the challenges facing African’s is cellphone tower capacity. For instance in Norway one cellphone tower is shared among 400 people, in Nigeria that number climbs to 6 000 according to Opera. This means that while there is a connection, it’s slow.

While its annoying now Opera thinks it will get worse as more and more citizens switch from GSM/EDGE connections to 3G and LTE connections. “The increase in number of cellphone towers and their capacity is not increasing nearly as quickly as the increase of data spent per person,” says the firm.

Opera’s data saving tool, Opera Max, is available for free on the Google Play store.


Brendyn Lotz writes news, reviews, and opinion pieces for Hypertext. His interests include SMEs, innovation on the African continent, cybersecurity, blockchain, games, geek culture and YouTube.