I’m often asked about, ‘The African Cellphone Industry,’ and how it compares to America’s cellphone industry, and what Africans primarily use their cellphones for?

I intend to answer the abovementioned questions and many, many more during the course of my news article, but let me start off by saying that Africa has been able to jump into the digital age of phone-to-phone communication without having to develop a major landline industry first, which has its pluses and its minuses since our landline industry has created millions and millions of standalone service tech jobs in addition to millions and millions of cellphone industry jobs, so when it comes to having a dual communications industry that provides millions of jobs, as well as a backup emergency system that does not depend on cell towers, America still stands at the very top of the person to person communications mountain.

But, is it really a fair comparison since Africa has way more people than the United States, and can therefore produce many more jobs and subscribers?

Well, in the year 2002 only one to two Africans out of every ten Africans owned a cellphone, however, in the year 2018 Africa’s cellphone industry was just as big as the United States or bigger, and it did not take the African mobile phone networks nearly as long as it had taken the American mobile phone networks to achieve this kind of unprecedented success.

The African Cellphone Industry is booming in South Africa and in Nigeria and also in Kenya, and all across the African continent, and as a result, Smartphones sells will steadily increase with the advent of the Chinese made 5G Network that’s already being used in Mexico.

The cellphone has been a great help to Africa, and while Americans might primarily use their mobile phones for texting, and for taking pictures, and for social media, and for calling friends and family, and for making videos, and for navigation, and for listening to music, and for watching movies, and for watching YouTube; the Africans are into a phenomena called, ‘Mobile Money,’ and primarily use their cellphones for sending text messages, and for taking pictures, and for creating videos, and for getting political news, and for making and receiving payments, and for getting consumer info, and for getting health info, and for accessing social media sites, and for looking for jobs while applying for positions through their cellphones, which is something that would not be at all possible without Dr. Henry T. Sampson since the Cellphone simply would not exist without the pioneering work of an African American scientist named Dr. Henry T. Sampson, who invented the, ‘Gamma-Electric Cell,’ on July 6, 1971, and who also holds the U.S. Patent No. 3, 591, 860 for his ground breaking invention that gave birth to the 40 plus year old cell phone that you and I are carrying around inside our pockets and our day bags and our purses.

The ‘Gamma Electric Cell’ invention made it possible for Motorola’s engineer Marty Cooper to place the very first public cellphone call on April 3, 1973.

The Verge captured this history making event, which again would not have been possible without Dr. Henry T. Sampson’s ‘Gamma-Electric Cell’ invention, by telling us that the first public cell phone call took place in Midtown Manhattan, and that Marty Cooper called Joel Engel, who was the head of Bell Labs at the time, which was a competitor, and said, ‘Joel, this is Marty. I’m calling you from a cell phone, a real handheld portable cell phone.’

The call between Marty Cooper and Joel Engel was placed on a Motorola DynaTAC 8000x, which weighed some 2.5 pounds at the time.

Today our cellphones weigh 4 ounces, and although most Americans and Africans might not be aware of the history of the cellphone or who Dr. Henry T. Sampson is, their lives have been greatly enriched by his patented technology, which changed the entire English and non-English speaking world forever, so let us honor the African American scientist that brought the world the ‘Gamma-Electric Cell’ that’s directly responsible for our cellphones, and for Africa’s booming cellphone industry, which has more than one cellphone carrier, which might surprise some Americans since I was told by some Americans that they believe that Africa only has one or two cellphone carriers at most since America has had a cellphone industry ever since the 1980s.

Well, contrary to what some Americans might presently believe Africa has a pretty sizable mobile phone network that stretches far beyond one to two cellphone carriers.

I will list a few of Africa’s best known mobile phone networks or cellphone carriers below.  


Vodafone provides coverage for South Africa, Ghana, and Egypt     


Telefonica provides coverage for Sudan (operating as Sudan Unicom) and Morocco


Airtel provides coverage for Burkina Faso, Chad, Republic of Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya, and Uganda and other places in Africa


Orange provides coverage for Botswana, Cameroon, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Kenya, Ivory Coast, Mali, Niger, Senegal, Madagascar, Togo, and Uganda


Beeline provides coverage for many places in Africa and is a Russian mobile phone network that operates around the world and that has over 190 million subscribers throughout the world.

Well, by now you should know a lot more about The African Cellphone Industry than you previously did.

You should also know a lot more about the very first public cellphone call as well, and much, much more about how the cell phone ultimately came into being, and who invented the ‘Gamma-Electric Cell’ that gave birth to the cell phone.

Nathaniel Armstrong, Jr.

Cerritos, CA –