The total number of mobile connections in Africa overtook Western Europe during the fourth quarter of 2010, according to figures published by Wireless Intelligence. The new report by the research firm revealed that:

# African mobile lines reached 547.5 million during the three months ended December 2010
# The numbers increased up to 19.83 percent from 456.9 million a year ago
# Western Europe had 523.6 million connections at the end of 2010, up from 520.6 million in 2009.
# The African slide was triggered in part by price wars in a number of markets, particularly Kenya, Tanzania and Egypt.
# Monthly mobile ARPU in Africa stood at USD 10 in the fourth quarter of 2010, compared to USD 10.34 a year ago
# In Kenya, Airtel started a price war in August last year by slashing voice call rates by 50 percent

It is unclear what exactly the overtaking of Europe will have on African markets, but analysts believe it will help spur an increase in investment flowing into the continent over the next few years