Is there a big data opportunity in Africa? TA Telecom CEO and founder Amr Shady believes there’s a big one. Only 15 percent of Africans may have access to the internet on a PC, but there is a wealth of information to be mined from the mobile operators who effectively have a lock on data services on the continent, Shady said speaking at Gigaom’s Structure Data conference on Wednesday.

“To talk about big data in Africa we have to look at where the data is being is being created,” Shady said. 60 percent of internet traffic comes from mobile phones. Only a third of mobile users who generate that traffic have a mobile data connection. The rest are using basic voice and SMS services, he said.

If you sampled data from social media to try to understand consumer behavior or public opinion in Africa, you’ll most likely reach incorrect conclusions…

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