Mobile data traffic in Sub-Saharan Africa is projected to hit about 5.6 exabytes(EB) by 2026, the Ericsson Mobility Report says. The current figure is expected to grow at least 6.5 times the current figure at a rate of 0.87EB per month in 2020 to 5.6EB in 2026.
The report says that the SSA “has a very high growth rate, but from a relatively small base.” It also projects growth for average traffic per smartphone to about 8.9 GB per month in the period in forecast.
Mobile service providers are also expected to continue investing in their networks to accommodate the growth and evolving customer trends as the region is also experiencing increased demand for capacity and network coverage.
“This latest edition of our Mobility Report highlights the fundamental need for good connectivity as a cornerstone to cater for this uptake as the demand for capacity and coverage of cellular networks continues to grow across Africa,” says Fadi Pharaon, President of Ericsson MEA.
According to Pharaon, investing in network infrastructure and optimizing spectrum assignments to deliver expansive 4G connectivity, paving the way for 5G, are critical requirements to consider in the journey to accelerate digital transformation across the continent.
“We will continue to invest in our technology leadership and offer our state-of-the-art infrastructure solutions to help our customers seize the opportunities that connectivity will bring to Africa.” he said.
Mobile broadband subscriptions in Sub-Saharan Africa are also projected to increase to cover at least 76 percent of the mobile subscriptions in the region within the period in forecast.
This is attributed to the growth of a younger population with enhanced digital skills and affordable smartphones. 5G is expected to hit high volumes by 2022 and reach at least 5 percent by 2026.
The report further says that LTE is expected to account for about 15 percent of the subscriptions in SSA in 2020.Despite the growth of 5G and LTE within the region, 3G is bound to remain the dominant technology in the region with a share of over 40 percent by 2026.
The report said that globally, the uptake of 5G is expected to trump that of 4G to reach about 3.5 billion people, accounting for 40 percent of mobile subscribers, by 2026.