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SSA mobile data traffic projected to grow 20x by 2020, 75% of mobile subscriptions to be 3G/4G

June 3, 2014  »  Mobile & StatisticsNo Comment

Globally, there are nearly 7 billion mobile subscriptions, 20% of the world is covered by an LTE signal, and mobile data traffic is expected to grow ten-fold by 2019. But how does Africa currently stack up?

Exceedingly well, at least according to the latest Ericsson Mobility Report which has more aggressively projected African mobile subscription trends for the next few years. An Appendix focuses solely on Sub-Saharan Africa and captures anticipated mobile subscription growth through the end of 2019. Key drivers for this mobile growth will be cheaper devices, more local content, ICT in key economic sectors (finance, agriculture, media), national broadband policies, and high performance networks.

As of early 2014, Africa accounted for roughly 9% of global mobile subscriptions though most are still GSM rather than 3G or LTE. In fact, roughly 5% of Africans are covered by a LTE signal versus 20% globally. Within the next 5 1/2 years, however, mobile data traffic in Sub-Saharan Africa is expected to grow by 20x, or twice the global rate.

To summarize:

  • There will be over 635 million mobile subscriptions in SSA by the end of 2014
mobile subscriptions sub-saharan africa

Most of the 500mm+ SSA mobile subscriptions are 2G equivalent but that is quickly changing.

  • Another 300 million will be added by the end of 2019
  • By 2019, there will be 557 million smartphone subscriptions and 710 million mobile broadband subscriptions
  • Mobile penetration in SSA stood at 70% in 2013
  • Nigeria, Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda, and Ghana lead in terms of net mobile subscription additions in 2013
mobile subscriptions by ssa region, 2013

Nigeria, with a large population, is adding the most subscriptions.

  • 47% of SSA mobile users believe that mobile data is too expensive
  • GSM will remain the dominant technology in SSA until 2018
  • 75% of mobile subscriptions in SSA will be 3G/4G by the end of 2019
  • Mobile data traffic is predicted to grow around 20x between the end of 2013 and the end of 2019
mobile data traffic sub-saharan africa

Mobile data traffic in 2014 is expected to be nearly double that of 2013.

  • At the end of 2013, there was 65% 2G coverage, 20% 3G coverage, and 5% 4G coverage in SSA
  • By the end of 2019, there will be 80% 2G coverage, 65% 3G coverage, and 40% LTE coverage in SSA
ssa mobile coverage by technology

GSM/EDGE will give way to WCDMA/HSPA by 2019.

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