By Emma Okonji
Ericsson has projected that mobile data traffic in sub-Saharan Africa will grow by 12 times the current figures, with total traffic estimated to increase from 0.33 Exabytes (EB) per month to 4EB by 2025.
It also estimated that average traffic per smartphone would reach 7.1GB over the period. The June 2020 edition of the Ericsson Mobility Report, stated this, with projections for data traffic growth, and regional subscriptions.
The report noted that in Africa, Long Term Evolution (LTE) technology accounted for around 11 per cent of subscriptions in 2019, adding that over the forecast period, mobile broadband subscriptions are predicted to increase, reaching 72 per cent of mobile subscriptions.
LTE share would reach around 30 per cent by the end of the forecast period, and LTE subscriptions are set to triple, increasing from 90 million in 2019 to 270 million in 2025.
Commenting on the report findings, President of Ericsson Middle East and Africa, Fadi Pharaon, said: “Technology brings an unprecedented opportunity to address the challenges of sustainable economic development and improve the livelihood of people in Africa.”
According to the report, driving factors behind the growth of mobile broadband subscriptions include a young and growing population with increasing digital skills, and more affordable smartphones.
Over the forecast period, discernible volumes of 5G subscriptions are expected from 2022, reaching 3 per cent by 2025.
In the area of digital infrastructure, the report stated that the spread of Covid-19 during the first part of 2020 impacted all parts of society globally, including the telecommunications sector.
The Ericsson Mobility Report takes an incisive look at the role of networks and digital infrastructure in keeping societies running in Africa, and families connected during the Covid-19 pandemic.
“The Covid-19 pandemic has had a substantial impact on people in many countries and their daily lives, but consumers see resilient networks as a vital help in coping with everyday life.
“In a recent study conducted by Ericsson Consumer Lab, 83 per cent of the respondents from 11 countries around the world claim that Information and Communication Technology (ICT) helped them a lot to cope with the lockdown.
“The results show an increased adoption and usage of ICT services, such as e-learning and wellness apps, that have helped consumers adapt to new realities, underpinned by connectivity,” the report said.
According to the report, around half of all households in the world, which is over one billion, do not have a fixed broadband connection. Given the current speed and capacity of cellular networks with LTE, there are opportunities for African service providers to deliver broadband services to homes and small and medium-sized enterprises economically using Fixed Wireless Access (FWA).