Twenty one years ago, two Norwegian developers started Opera Software with the vision of an open, an affordable internet. In the mid 1990s, the view that access to the internet should be a universal right was a radical one. With less than 1% of the world online at the time, it was a pipe dream that perhaps only the most optimistic technophiles could have imagined. Indeed, only a few years earlier, at the end of 1991, the first IP connection was made between Rhodes’ University Computing Centre in Grahamstown, South Africa and the home of computer scientist, Randy Bush in Portland, Oregon.
The birth of mobile in Africa really occurred at the turn of the 21st century and by the early 2000s, mobile network operators were working across the continent to connect Africans everywhere. We launched our famous Opera Mini mobile browser in 2006 and many of these operators became and remain our close partners. The advanced compression offered in our products enables these companies to offer a full internet experience to their subscribers for less.
Ten years on, we are not only witnessing a far more connected continent but we’re celebrating 100m African Opera users across our product portfolio. It’s with immense pride that against this backdrop we maintain our vision of an open, connected world, powered by great technology and services. This is essential in order to break down barriers that limit access to information, education and fun.
Our report, State of the Mobile Web Africa, 2016 aims to shed light on the opportunities and challenges we experienced in bringing the next 100 million – and beyond – online. It will also take an in-depth look into some of the data and statistics of the African mobile web. We hope you find the information valuable and we look forward to the next ten years of the mobile web in Africa.