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Ericsson projects that by 2019, 70% of mobile subscriptions in Middle East and Africa will be WCDMA/HSPA (3G)

November 12, 2013  »  Broadband & Mobile & StatisticsNo Comment

Ericsson has performed in-depth data traffic measurements since the early days of mobile broadband from a large base of live networks covering all regions of the world. As a result, the company is able to share analysis based on these measurements, internal forecasts, and other relevant studies to provide insights into the current traffic and market trends.

Globally, the Ericsson Mobility Report finds the number of mobile subscriptions worldwide to have grown by approximately 7% year over year. Mobile subscriptions grew by even more – 40% – and now stand at more than 2 billion globally. Although most of the report examines global trends and habits, multiple projections are valid for the Middle East and Africa region.

In the Africa region, 25 million mobile subscriptions were added from July-September 2013 (the same as a year prior):

Mobile subscriber net additions - Q3 2013

{Flickr/Ericsson Images}


…bringing the total to 803 million. Egypt was 4th globally with 4 million subscriptions added:


{Flickr/Ericsson Images}


This equates to roughly 73% African mobile penetration as of Q3 2013:

Mobile subscriber penetration - Q3 2013

{Flickr/Ericsson Images}


In 2013, the Middle East and Africa is dominated by GSM/EDGE, which represents around 80 percent of mobile subscriptions in the region. Dramatic changes will take place in the coming years and in 2019 WCDMA/HSPA and LTE will represent the same share of subscriptions as GSM/EDGE does today. The share of LTE subscriptions seems to have been adjusted upward (from 5% by 2018 to 10% by 2019) since last year’s report:

Mobile technology, 2012 vs. 2019

{Flickr/Ericsson Images}


To summarize:

  • Mobile subscriber growth in MENA is outpacing that in other global regions, but still lags in terms of total subscribers
  • In 2019, around one-half of handsets in Middle East and Africa will be smartphones (was previously projected to be one-third in 2018)
  • By 2019, Middle East and Africa will see 70% of mobile subscriptions as WCDMA/HSPA (3G) – is currently 80% GSM/EDGE (2G)
  • Indoor coverage is a concern – even for SSA

Stay tuned, as Ericsson will continue to share traffic subscriber trends on a regular basis. And they continue to update their forecasts as evidenced by changes to this year’s report.

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