A massive 2,6-billion new mobile broadband subscribers will be added through 2022 – an average of more than 1-million each day.
These new subscribers would be enough to fill Africa’s largest soccer stadium, Soccer City – with a capacity of approximately 95 000 – 10 times each day for the next five years.
Africa added 9-million new mobile subscriptions in the first quarter of 2017, reaching a total of 985-million.
The latest edition of the Ericsson Mobility Report indicates that the dominant access technology will be LTE (also known as 4G) in 2018, making it the fastest-growing mobile technology in history.
Ericsson foresees continued rapid growth of mobile connectivity as global mobile data traffic increases to eight times its current level by 2022.
This traffic is the equivalent of:
* The population of Spain streaming HD video 24 hours per day for a month;
* A single subscriber streaming HD video continuously for 3,55-million years; or
* Almost 31-billion hours of continuous HD video streaming.
The June edition of the Ericsson Mobility Report shows the highest year-on-year mobile data growth globally since 2013, led by massive growth in India, and highlights the underlying need for mobile data. Nigeria is among the top five countries with 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. 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 showed 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% annually between 2016 and 2022.
The rapid increase in mobile data traffic in sub-Saharan Africa is driving operators to explore methods of optimizing network capacity, one of which is complementing traffic on WiFi networks. Operators are offering Wi-Fi to consumers either as stand-alone or bundled with existing packages, and are extending WiFi calling services to subscribers with devices bearing this capability.
Niklas Heuveldop, chief strategy Oofficer and head of technology and emerging business at Ericsson, says: “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 a population coverage of 15 percent by 2022.”
On industry trends, the Mobility Report features articles on Internet for all, massive IoT coverage in cities and remote operation of vehicles with 5G.
In 2018, LTE (4G) will overtake GSM as the largest access technology by number of subscriptions. The speed with which this 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.
While LTE uptake is driven by demand for improved user experience and faster networks, 5G deployment will also be driven by the need for enhanced mobile broadband capabilities as well as industry solutions for efficiency and automation. 5G will be the one network to support a diversity of use cases. More than half a billion 5G subscriptions are expected to be activated by 2022, not including IoT connections. 5G is then expected to cover around 15% of the world’s population.