Sub-Saharan Africa is the second-largest mobile technology market after Asia and the fastest growing one, with the GSMA forecasting the region's mobile users will reach 346 million by 2017. This growth has leapfrogged traditional landline phone connections. The median percentage of households with landlines in these 23 countries in 2013 is 2% -- unchanged from 2008.
The growth in mobile phone ownership in sub-Saharan Africa has not been equally distributed across the subcontinent or even within countries. Mobile phones remain most common in urban households. In 2013, 80% of urban households had at least one mobile phone, compared with 63% of rural households that have at least one mobile phone. This is a change from six years ago when 63% of urban households had at least one mobile and 43% of rural households did.
Not surprisingly, higher income households have a greater percentage of mobile phone ownership. However, a majority in even the poorest 20% of the population report having at least one phone in their household. Growth has been biggest among sub-Saharan Africans in the second-lowest income group, increasing 28 percentage points since 2008.