News: Nigeria leads as Africa adds nine million new mobile subscriptions


With about three million new mobile subscribers added to Nigeria in quarter one (Q1), 2017, the country has led Africa to fresh nine million subscriptions, reaching a total of 985 million.

This was contained in the Ericsson Mobility Report, June edition, presented in Lagos, on Wednesday. The report said the industry has taken major steps to progress network, which has been facilitated by major investments. According to the report, while Nigeria added three million new subscriptions in Q1, India added 43 million; China 24 million; Indonesia 10 million and Pakistan five million.

The Ericsson Mobility Report informed that the number of mobile subscriptions exceeds the population in many countries, which is largely due to inactive subscriptions, multiple device ownership or optimisation of subscriptions for different types of calls. As a result, the number of subscribers is lower than the number of subscriptions.

“Today, there are 5.2 billion subscribers globally compared to 7.6 billion subscriptions,” the report noted. Reman informed that Ericsson foresees continued rapid growth of mobile connectivity as global mobile data traffic increases to eight times its current level by 2022. According to him, for the next six years, nearly 2.6 billion new subscribers will be added to mobile broadband networks – enough to fill Africa’s largest soccer stadium, Soccer City in Johannesburg (with capacity of approximately 95, 000) 10 times each day.

The latest collection of statistics showed 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. The findings presented how leveraging existing mobile infrastructure is the most cost-effective way to connect the 50 per cent of the global population that still doesn’t have Internet access, to how attributes of 5G will make public transport using autonomous vehicles safer. 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 (SSA), and is showing no signs of slowing down. It is forecast to grow by around 55 per cent yearly between 2016 and 2022.The rapid increase in mobile data traffic in SSA is driving operators to explore methods of optimising network capacity, one of which is complementing traffic on Wi-Fi networks. According to Ericsson, operators are offering Wi-Fi to consumers either as stand-alone or bundled with existing packages, and are extending Wi-Fi calling services to subscribers with devices bearing this capability.

Chief Strategy Officer and Head of Technology and Emerging Business, Ericsson, Niklas Heuveldop, said based on measurements made in hundreds of mobile networks, the Ericsson Mobility Report data truly illustrates the tremendous underlying growth in the industry.He stressed that 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 per cent by 2022,” he stated.

On industry trends, the Mobility Report features articles on Internet for all, massive IoT coverage in cities and remote operation of vehicles with 5G. It revealed that LTE is becoming most pervasive technology in history. According to it, 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. Reman noted that 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. He stressed that 5G will be the one network to support a diversity of use cases, as 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 per cent of the world’s population.




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