LTE subscriptions in Sub-Saharan Africa set for explosive growth

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Almost every mobile service provider in South African has by now launched LTE for faster mobile internet, but according to Ericsson’s Mobility Report, LTE connections today only make up 1% of mobile subscriptions.

But, that is all set to change – if the report is correct. According to Ericsson, LTE connections are set to explode 28-fold by 2021, making up 20% of all connections. Right now however, it is only sitting at about 1%. Combined with WCDMA/HSPA, it should account for over 600 million subscriptions.

The reason for the growth is rather simple: better access to the internet.

“Subscription growth within the region will continue to be driven by a number of factors, including better network coverage in rural areas and remote locations, ownership of multiple SIMs, the reduced cost of devices and call rates, and M2M,” Ericsson said in the report.

Once again, if all of this is true, LTE networks will cover 50 percent of the population in 2021.

Naturally, as more people connect to faster mobile internet, the consumption rate will increase. According to those in the know, between now and 2021 mobile data traffic will grow by a factor of “around 15”.

This will be helped along not only by faster speeds, but also by the upgrading of mobile data networks, the expansion of fiber optic cables into more and more neighbourhoods and ongoing price reductions in data subscriptions.

“By the end of 2021, monthly mobile data traffic in Sub-Saharan Africa is expected to be almost 2 200 Petabytes (PB). Smartphones will account for almost 95 percent of mobile data traffic by 2021, up from close to 80 percent in 2015. Voice traffic over the same period will only marginally increase.”

[Source – Ericsson, Image – CC by 2.0/Phil Hart]

Charlie Fripp

Charlie Fripp

Charlie started his professional life as a motoring journalist for a community newspaper in Mpumalanga, Charlie explored different journalistic angles since his entry into the fast-paced world of publishing in 2006. While fostering a passion for the arts, Charlie developed a love for technology – both which allowed him to serve as Entertainment and Technology Editor for an online publication. Charlie has since been heavily involved in consumer technology for various websites and publications. He thoroughly enjoys World War II films and cerebral documentaries; aviation; photography and indie music. Oh yes, and he also has a rather strange obsession with collecting coffee mugs from his travels.