Ericsson Foresees Rapid Growth in Global Mobile Connectivity


Emma Okonji

The latest edition of the Ericsson Mobility Report has predicted continued rapid global growth in mobile connectivity.

According to the report, there would be additional 2.6 billion new mobile broadband subscribers by 2022, averaging to more than one million each day.

Announcing the report in Lagos at a press conference in Lagos recently, the Managing Director, Ericsson Nigeria, Mr. Rutger Reman, said the dominant access technology that will drive the rapid growth, would be 4G LTE in 2018, making it the fastest-growing mobile technology in history. He said Africa added onine million new mobile subscriptions in the first quarter of 2017, reaching a total of 985 million.

The latest collection of statistics about the growth of subscribers and data traffic in mobile networks is presented in the June edition of the Ericsson Mobility Report. It shows the highest year-on-year mobile data growth globally since 2013, led by massive growth in India and Africa, and highlights the underlying need for mobile data.
According to the report, Nigeria is among the top five countries with over 3 million mobile subscriptions net additions in Q1 2017.

The use of smartphones and easy access to mobile internet services comprise a major part of the traffic numbers.
According to Reman, Ericsson analyses “smartphone mobile data traffic” within “mobile data traffic” to illustrate this trend more clearly.

“By the end of 2022, total smartphone mobile data traffic will have increased nine times, reaching 66 ExaBytes per month.

The November 2016 edition of the Ericsson Mobility Report shows that mobile data traffic continues to grow in sub-Saharan Africa, and is showing no signs of slowing down. It is forecast to grow by around 55 per cent annually between 2016 and 2022. The rapid increase in mobile data traffic in sub-Saharan Africa is driving operators to explore methods of optimising network capacity, one of which is complementing traffic on Wi-Fi networks. Operators are offering Wi-Fi to consumers either as stand-alone or bundled with existing packages, and are extending Wi-Fi calling services to subscribers with devices bearing this capability,” the report said.

Chief Strategy Officer and Head of Technology and Emerging Business, Ericsson, Niklas Heuveldop, said: “Based on measurements made in hundreds of mobile networks, the Ericsson Mobility Report data truly illustrates the tremendous underlying growth in the industry. 4G subscriptions are increasing faster than ever, Voice over LTE uptake is accelerating and traffic growth has reached levels we have not seen since 2013.

“I am particularly excited to see the industry’s major steps to progress network evolution, including the approval of the Non-Standalone 5G New Radio (NR) that will enable early 5G deployments. According to our forecast, we anticipate that this will lead to more than half a billion 5G subscriptions and population coverage of 15 percent by 2022.”

The report further said test in 2018, 4G LTE technology would overtake GSM as the largest access technology by number of subscriptions. The speed with which the 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 said.