14 November 2017

Africa: Mobile Subscriptions in Sub-Saharan Africa to Hit 990 Million

Mobile subscriptions in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) are expected to grow by six per cent, between 2017 and 2023, from 700 million mobile subscriptions this year to 990 million subscriptions by 2023.Nigeria currently has over 200 million connected lines, while about 139 million are active.

According to Ericsson, in its Mobility Report, , mobile traffic in the Middle East and Africa (MEA), will increase at a compound yearly growth rate (CAGR) of 49 per cent while mobile subscriptions for the total MEA region are expected to grow at four per cent CAGR between 2017 and 2023, from 1.59 billion in 2017 to 2.03 billion by 2023.

This, according to Ericsson equates to three per cent growth in the Middle East and North Africa, from 890 million mobile subscriptions to 1.04 billion subscriptions between 2017 and 2023.

On the other hand, mobile broadband subscriptions are forecast to grow by 15 per cent for the MEA region from 820 million in 2017 to 1.85 billion by 2023. This is broken down into a 13 per cent increase for the Middle East and North Africa from 460 million mobile broadband subscriptions in 2017 to 980 million by 2023. Similarly, Sub-Saharan Africa mobile broadband subscriptions are forecasted to grow by 16 per cent from 350 million in 2017 to 880 million by 2023.

The Mobility Report forecasts that LTE subscriptions will expand by 47 per cent from 30 million in 2017 to 310 million by 2023 in Sub-Saharan Africa. Ericsson said the MEA region is expected to grow by 29 per cent from 190 million to 860 million by 2023. This means that LTE subscriptions in the Middle East and North Africa will grow by 23 per cent from 160 million in 2017 to 570 million by 2023. For the SSA region, LTE subscriptions will expand by 47 per cent from 30 million in 2017 to 310 million by 2023.

Head of Ericsson Middle East and Africa, Rafiah Ibrahim, said: "Total mobile traffic for the region is forecasted to grow by around 49 per cent annually between 2017 and 2023. This rapid growth is seeing operators increasingly exploring methods of optimizing their networks with more capacity and coverage. We are supporting operators across the region throughout the different phases of the network evolution enabling best performing networks and differentiated customer experience."

The report mentioned that in the Middle East and North Africa, strong growth is forecasted for both WCDMA/HSPA and LTE during the period. Combined, these technologies will see a rise from 50 per cent to over 90 per cent of total subscriptions by the end of the period.The first 5G subscriptions in the Middle East and North Africa are expected from 2020, reaching around 17 million subscriptions by the end of 2023.

The report revealed that for mobile service providers, traditional revenue sources are shrinking, and so new revenue streams are being explored. "As the world becomes more connected, industries are experiencing an ICT-driven transformation. Industry digitalization revenues for ICT players come from adopting or integrating digital technologies into a specific industry. 5G-enabled industry digitalization revenues for IoT in the Middle East and Africa are predicted to reach $242 billion through 2026.

"5G will be an important technology in growing industrial digitalization, particularly for use cases dependent on extra-low latency and high reliability. This presents an opportunity for service providers that are ready to explore smart revenue streams addressing B2B2X industry players," Ericsson noted.

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