Nigeria to lead Africa to one billion mobile subscriptions by 2022.

With report showing that sub-Saharan Africa’s (SSA), which refers to countries that are fully or partially located south of the Sahara, mobile penetration is currently at 85 per cent and projected to hit 105 per cent by 2022, amounting to over one billion mobile subscriptions, Nigeria is expected to fast track the growth.


Nigeria currently is the largest and fastest telecommunications market in Africa with about $38 billion investment and active mobile subscriptions of over 150 million as at September.


According to the Mobility Report, a research by Ericsson, which forecast a huge mobile penetration growth in SSA and claimed that the region has the highest growth rate in mobile subscriptions globally, there will be 550 million fifth generation wireless system (5G) subscriptions in 2022.


The report, which said North America will lead the way in uptake of 5G subscriptions, where a quarter of all mobile subscriptions are forecast to be for 5G in 2022, observed that Asia Pacific will be the second fastest growing region for 5G subscriptions, with 10 per cent of all subscriptions being 5G in 2022.


“This year, Ericsson has published 5 Regional Reports with the Global Mobility Report. The Sub-Saharan Africa Mobility Report reveals that while total mobile subscriptions penetration in the region is currently 85 percent, this number is expected to reach 105 percent by 2022 with over 1 billion mobile subscriptions. This makes Sub-Saharan Africa, the region with highest growth rate in mobile subscriptions globally.


“From 2016 to 2022, Sub-Saharan Africa will dramatically shift from a region with a majority of GSM/EDGE-only subscriptions, to around 83 per cent of all subscriptions on WCDMA/HSPA and LTE,” the reports stated.”


The Mobility Report informed that by the end of 2016, there will be 3.9 billion Smartphone subscriptions globally with almost 90 per cent of these subscriptions registered on WCDMA/HSPA and LTE networks.


By 2022, the number of Smartphone subscriptions is forecast to reach 6.8 billion, with more than 95 per cent of the subscriptions registered on WCDMA/HSPA, LTE and 5G networks.


According to Ericsson, in SSA, smart phones penetration will reach around 80 percent by 2022 while mobile subscriptions on smart phones will rise by 21 per cent yearly from 2016 to 2022.

The report also highlighted the role Internet of Things plays in providing new means to deliver efficient, innovative solutions that meet socio-economic challenges and transform business models to unlock growth in SSA.


Across SSA, the report projects cellular Internet of Things (IoT), which describes a network of physical objects that feature an IP address for internet connectivity, connections growing from 11 million in 2016 to 75 million connections in 2022.


The latest Ericsson Mobility Report also forecasts that in 2022, there will be 8.9 billion mobile subscriptions, of which 90 percent will be for mobile broadband. At this point in time, there will be 6.1 billion unique subscribers.


As of Q3 2016, 84 million new mobile subscriptions were added during the quarter to reach a total of 7.5 billion, growing at around three per cent year-on-year. India grew the most in terms of net additions during the quarter (+15 million), followed by China (+14 million), Indonesia (+6 million), Myanmar (+4 million) and the Philippines (+4 million). Mobile broadband subscriptions are growing by around 25 per cent year-on-year, increasing by approximately 190 million in Q3 2016 alone. The total number of mobile broadband subscriptions is now around 4.1 billion.


According to the report, mobile data traffic continues to grow, driven both by increased Smartphone (an advanced system similar to a personal computer for mobile or handheld use),subscriptions and a continued increase in average data volume per subscription, fuelled primarily by more viewing of video content. In Q3 2016, data traffic grew around 10 percent quarter-on-quarter and 50 percent year-on-year.


A rise in access and viewing of video content is also a driver for mobile data traffic growth in SSA. Other drivers are wider network coverage, continued reduction in prices of both devices and services and a growing population with 57 per cent of the current population under 15 years old.


President of Ericsson Sub-Saharan Africa, Jean-Claude Geha, said: “Data traffic is forecast to grow by around 55 per cent yearly between 2016 and 2022, that is a 13 times growth. This rapid growth is driving operators to explore methods of optimizing network capacity, one of which is complementing traffic via Wi-Fi networks – with traffic expected to rise 70 per cent yearly between 2016 and 2022.”

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