Africa’s 90% Mobile Subscriptions to be Broadband Driven by 2032

Ericsson has predicted in its Mobility Report for November 2017 that by the end of 2023, the Middle East and Africa region will transform from a situation where half of all mobile subscriptions are going to be GSM/EDGE-only, to one where 90 % of subscriptions are for mobile broadband.
According to report, the driving factors for this growth include a young and growing population with increasing digital skills, as well as more affordable smartphones.
Presenting the report to a group pf select Nigerian technology editors in Lagos, South West Nigeria via video conference from Dakar, Senegal, Mr. Nicolas Blixell,Head of Customer Unit, West Africa, Ericsson said that mobile broadband drives subscription growth across all regions.
He said that the number of mobile subscriptions continues to grow across the regions, fueled by a strong uptake in mobile broadband but that there are still large variations between regions adding that “with the exception of India, subscriptions for mobile broadband now make up 50 % or more of total subscriptions in all regions. Globally, the most common way to access the internet is over a mobile network.”
The report showed also that n North East Asia, 5G is expected to be deployed early in South Korea, Japan and China. For the region as a whole, 5G subscription penetration is expected to reach 34 percent by the end of the forecast period and that North America currently has the highest penetration of LTE subscriptions at close to 80 percent.
The Ericsson report further showed that the region will also lead 5G uptake, with major operators stating their intentions to deploy 5G early and that 5G subscriptions are expected to account for 37 percent of all mobile subscriptions in the region by the end of 2023.
The VoLTE outlook showed that VoLTE technology will be the foundation for enabling voice calls over 5G access and that new communication service use cases in a 5G context are being explored, such as combining them with augmented reality and virtual reality.
Ericsson said that VoLTE subscriptions are expected to exceed 650 million by the end of 2017, creating a foundation for interoperable consumer and enterprise communication services on different devices saying “VoLTE has now been launched in more than 125 networks in over 60 countries across all regions. The number of VoLTE subscriptions is projected to reach 5.5 billion by the end of 2023, accounting for more than 80 % of the combined LTE and 5G subscriptions.”
The statistics showed total global monthly data and voice traffic from Q3 2012 to Q3 2017, along with the yearly percentage change for mobile data traffic and “in Q3 2017, data traffic grew around 10 % quarterly and around 65 % yearly.However, there are large differences in traffic levels between markets, regions and operators.”
Mobile data traffic is expected to surge by eight times during the forecast period, reaching 110 Exabytes per month by 2023. This corresponds to 5.5 million years of HD video streaming.
All regions maintain mobile data traffic growth, with North America showing the highest average usage per smartphone, exceeding 7GB per month by the end of 2017.
Video consumption continues to fuel mobile broadband traffic growth. The driving force behind video’s uptrend are the young millennials – those in the 15 to 24 age bracket – who stream 2.5X more than those over 45 years of age.
Streaming video in higher resolutions and an emerging trend of increased streaming of immersive video formats, such as 360-degree video, will have an impact on data traffic consumption volumes. For example, a YouTube 360-degree video uses 4 to 5 times as much bandwidth as a normal YouTube video of the same perceived quality.
By the end of this year, LTE will be the dominant mobile access technology. It is estimated to reach 5.5 billion subscriptions and cover more than 85 % of the world’s population by the end of 2023.

Niklas Heuveldop, Chief Strategy Officer and Head of Technology and Emerging Business, Ericsson, said: “The latest report highlights trends in mobile subscription and data traffic growth, as well as the industry’s effort to tackle the increasing demands on mobile networks globally.
In addition, the report examines the emergence of new use cases as network capabilities evolve-smartwatches, IoT alarms, and augmented reality-assisted maintenance and repair, to name a few. As we prepare for 5G, these trends will continue to set the agenda for the mobile industry going forward.”
The report also features three articles on rising industry trends:
Shifting mobile data plans examines the move to ever larger plans as well as the actual data consumption within different plans. It highlights the importance of a good mix of data plans, including unlimited, to address a variety of consumer needs.
Enhancing the event experience focuses on how event organizers and operators can meet visitors’ needs for more digitalized services and immersive experiences.
Millennials’ expectations for 5G explores how this age group perceives their mobile experience, their hopes on 5G, and what their viewpoints imply for operators.
Isaiah Erhiawarien, West Africa


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