Africa to hit more than 1 billion mobile broadband connections by 2022
The number of mobile broadband connections in Africa is set to double over the next five years according to research by Ovum’s new Forecaster data service.
The data suggests that mobile data will become the biggest driver of the African telecoms market, increasing from 419 million to approximately 1.07 billion by the end of 2022.
Commenting on the findings, Matthew Reed, practice leader for the Middle East and Africa at Ovum, said: “Data connectivity is growing strongly in Africa, and there are also good prospects on the continent in areas such as digital media, mobile financial services, and the Internet of Things. But as Africa’s TMT market becomes more convergent and complex, service providers are under increasing pressure to make the transition from being providers of communications services, and to become providers of digital services.”
In addition, the growth of mobile broadband in Africa will be aided by the roll out of 3G W-CDMA and 4G LTE networks, as well as the increasing affordability of smartphones. By 2019 Ovum predicts that W-CDMA will become Africa’s biggest mobile technology by number of subscriptions, and there will be 858 million W-CDMA connections on the continent by end of 2022. It’s says that there will also be 210 million LTE subscriptions in Africa at end 2022 but says that 5G will only attract less than 1 million 5G subscriptions on the continent by the end of 2022.
The company says that the increase in data connectivity in Africa is accompanied by rising data revenues for operators, and is creating a platform for new, digital services. But it is also shaking up Africa’s telecoms, media and technology (TMT) market. According to their research, Facebook said earlier this year that it had 170 million active users in Africa, which means it has more customers on the continent than Africa’s biggest telecoms operator, MTN Group, which had 165 million mobile subscriptions in Africa at end-1H17.