According to the latest Ericsson Mobility report, Africa has seen a major growth of new mobile subscriptions with 9 million Africans joining services in the first quarter of 2017. This rise has seen the total number of mobile subscriptions on the continent to 985 million edging ever closer to the 1 billion milestone. These figures see the African continent become fourth fastest growing market world wide.
The report also highlighted the rise in global figures that saw 107 million new mobile subscriptions added in Q1 for a total of 7.6 billion new mobile subscriptions worldwide. This indicates a 4% year-on-year increase.
India were the biggest contributors to this increase as they added 43 million new mobile subscribers while Nigeria was the highest growing African country, 5th highest globally, adding 3 million new mobile subscriptions. Other countries which showed significant increases were China (24 million), Indonesia (10 million) and Pakistan (5 million).
Niklas Heuveldop, Chief Strategy Officer and Senior Vice President for Technology and Emerging Business at Ericsson highlighted that the increase in the number of new mobile subscriptions will only continually grow over the next five years. “By 2022, we anticipate that there will be more than half a billion 5G subscriptions, with a population coverage of fifteen percent. Mobile broadband continues to grow strongly. On average, more than one million new mobile broadband subscribers will be added every day up to the end of 2022.”
The report also highlights the continued growth of mobile data with it growing by 70% between Q1 in 2016 and Q1 in 2017.
The Middle East and Africa (MEA) region will continue to play a huge role in the growth of mobile broadband subscriptions as the report predicts that the region will almost triple between 2016 and 2022.
“In Middle East and Africa, where the penetration of mobile broadband is currently lower than in other regions, the number of mobile broadband subscriptions is expected to increase significantly. Driving factors include a growing young population and more affordable smartphones,” reads an excerpt from the report.
Heuveldop pointed out that the report illustrate the tremendous evolution of mobile technology as well as the underlying growth of the market. He cited the ever increasing growth of 4G subscriptions as Voice over LTE uptake accelerates and traffic growth reaches levels not seen since 2013.
The report anticipates that 4G will overtake GSM as the largest access technology by number of subscriptions in 2018. “The speed with which this technology has been rolled out and adopted is unprecedented. It has taken only five years for LTE to cover 2.5 billion people, compared to eight years for WCDMA/HSPA, or 3G. In the first quarter of this year alone, 250 million new LTE subscriptions were added,” the report stipulates.
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