Mobile data traffic in Sub-Saharan Africa is estimated to grow by 12 times the current figures, with total traffic increasing from 0.33 Exabytes (EB) per month to 4EB by 2025.
Meanwhile, average traffic per smartphone is expected to reach 7.1GB over the forecast period. These forecasts are included in the June 2020 edition of the Ericsson Mobility Report, along with projections for data traffic growth, and regional subscriptions.
In Sub-Saharan Africa, LTE accounted for around 11% of subscriptions in 2019. Over the forecast period, mobile broadband subscriptions are predicted to increase, reaching 72% of mobile subscriptions. LTE share will reach around 30% by the end of the forecast period, and LTE subscriptions are set to triple, increasing from 90 million in 2019 to 270 million in 2025.
Fadi Pharaon, President of Ericsson Middle East and Africa, says: “Technology brings an unprecedented opportunity to address the challenges of sustainable economic development and improve the livelihood of people in Africa.
The latest edition of Ericsson’s Mobility Report highlights Africa as one of the fastest growing mobile markets and reiterates the need for a more efficient technology, higher data rates and availability of ample spectrum. The Report highlights as well the importance of mobile and fixed networks as key components of critical national infrastructure to sustain and evolve emerging economies during remote work times.”
Driving factors behind the growth of mobile broadband subscriptions include a young and growing population with increasing digital skills, and more affordable smartphones. Over the forecast period, discernible volumes of 5G subscriptions are expected from 2022, reaching 3% by 2025.
Value of Digital Infrastructure
The spread of COVID-19 during the first part of 2020 impacted all parts of society globally, including the telecommunications sector. The Ericsson Mobility Report takes an incisive look at the role of networks and digital infrastructure in keeping societies running in Africa, and families connected during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a substantial impact on people in many countries and their daily lives, but consumers see resilient networks as a vital help in coping with everyday life.
In a recent study conducted by Ericsson Consumer Lab, 83% of the respondents from 11 countries around the world claim that ICT helped them a lot to cope with the lockdown. The results show an increased adoption and usage of ICT services, such as e-learning and wellness apps, that have helped consumers adapt to new realities, underpinned by connectivity.
FWA takes an expanded role
Around half of all households in the world – over 1 billion – do not have a fixed broadband connection. Given the current speed and capacity of cellular networks with LTE, there are opportunities for African service providers to deliver broadband services to homes and small and medium-sized enterprises economically using Fixed Wireless Access (FWA).
FWA delivered over 4G or 5G is a cost-efficient alternative to providing broadband in areas with limited access to fixed broadband services such as DSL, cable or fiber. Several factors are driving the FWA market in Africa and beyond: demand from consumers and businesses for digital services along with government-sponsored programs and subsidies.
FWA connections are forecast to reach nearly 160 million by end of 2025 – generating about 25% of global mobile network data traffic. At the end of 2019, global FWA data traffic was estimated to have been around 15% of the global total. It is now projected to grow nearly 8 fold to reach 53 exabytes in 2025, representing 25%of the global total mobile network data traffic.
The report also includes forecasts on data traffic growth, regional subscriptions plus insights into cloud-based gaming as well as in-depth articles on private dedicated networks and Verizon’s millimeter wave strategy for targeted metropolitan areas.
NCC Says 78.9m Nigerians now Connected to Broadband
Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has revealed that the number of Nigerians connected to high-speed internet rose to 78.9 million in June.
The data from the commission showed that telecommunications operators in the country added 2.2 million customers to their broadband database in the month to raise the figure from 76.6 million recorded in May.
This raised the country’s broadband penetration from 40.14 per cent in May to 41.27 per cent at the end of June.
The steady growth in penetration has been attributed to the telecoms operators’ aggressive push for deployment of 4G service across the country. To extend the service to more Nigerians, the largest mobile network operator in the country, MTN, recently announced more investments targeted at building more 4G infrastructure
MTN said it planned to spend an estimated N600 billion on technical infrastructure over the next three years as it looks to expand its 4G coverage across the entire country by 2024
The Federal Government also recently launched a new National Broadband Plan (NBP 2020-2025) with a target of achieving 70 per cent penetration in the next five years.
This followed the expiration of the NBP 2013-2018, which delivered 31 per cent penetration as of December 2018.
Aside from the 70 per cent penetration target, the government in the new plan also raised the benchmark speed for broadband service in Nigeria to 25 megapixels per second, which is an improvement from the 1.5mbps benchmark in the 2013-2018 plan.
Gilat Telecom, Spacecom, Unite to Bolster Satellite Services in Africa
Spacecom, operator of the AMOS satellites fleet, and Gilat Telecom, a connectivity service provider, have announced a collaboration “to develop a faster, more reliable and more cost-effective satellite service for organisations of all sizes across Africa.”
The service uses Spacecom’s AMOS-17 fully digital and advanced High Throughput Satellite (HTS) on both C and Ku band, and Gilat Telecom’s unique SD-WAN MAX technology.
The companies add that the service, available immediately, can be used for home and office connectivity including video conferences, e-health applications, e-learning, e-education, etc.
They add that the collaboration will benefit African MNOs and ISPs in several ways including CAPEX savings and higher throughput at reduced operational costs.
“Spacecom’s AMOS-17’s HTS fully digital payload enables cross-connection between all beam and all bands enabling the use of existing equipment which can also be set-up remotely by the end customers (on existing or new terminals). Using Gilat Telecom’s intelligent routing, capacity can be expanded by up to 20% (the equivalent of 6 Mbit/s can be achieved from a 5 Mbit/s downlink),” the companies state.
Another benefit is smart traffic management. The companies explain: “Gilat Telecom’s SD-WAN enables service providers and MNOs to centrally control the route that both satellite and fiber traffic takes to and from the customer.
It enables different applications – voice, streaming, caching (Facebook, Netflix, Microsoft cloud services etc.) – to be identified with automatic prioritisation, according to the customer’s needs and demands.”
Dan Zajicek, Spacecom’s CEO said: “This partnership enables us to boost the services offered to customers along with fast returns on investments to these growing markets. We are sure this fruitful cooperation will lead us to many great business opportunities in Africa.”
Asaf Rosenheck, Gilat Telecom’s CEO also said, “We are an innovative company always focused on how we can improve the service we provide to our customers. Our partnership with Spacecom demonstrates how we work across the ecosystem to drive down costs and improve capacity”.
Encomiums as Sonny Aragba-Akpore Bows Out of NCC
It was encomiums galore recently as Management and Staff of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) bid the Commission’s Head of Media Management and Public Relations, Sonny Aragba-Akpore, farewell following his retirement.
Aragba-Akpore, former Information and Communications Technology/News editor at the Guardian Newspaper, joined the service of the Commission in 2014.
Speaking at the valedictory party held in his honour on Thursday, which was attended physically and virtually by staff of the Commission, Prof. Umar Danbatta, executive vice chairman, appreciated the level of professionalism Aragba-Akpore brought to bear on his work at the Commission.
Represented at the event by Abigail Sholanke, director, Projects, Danbatta commended Aragba-Akpore for using his many years of industry experience and knowledge as a media professional and corporate communication manager to create a robust relationship with both mainstream and online media stakeholders, which, he said, has contributed significantly to the overall positive image and favourable public perception of NCC.
“On behalf of the Board, Management and Staff of Commission, we wish you a successful retirement and fruitful engagements in your future endeavours,” Danbatta said.
In his remarks, Dr. Ikechukwu Adinde, director, Public Affairs Department, said “within the short time I worked with Mr. Aragba-Akpore, I found him to be a man of uncommon passion for his work,” describing him as a very committed and hardworking colleague.
“We, therefore, wish you increased divine favour, as you retire from the services of the Commission.”
Other staff of the Commission, including directors, deputy directors, middle management staff, among others, took turns to talk about the favourable working relationship they had with Aragba-Akpore while at the NCC and wished him well in his retirement life.
Responding, Aragba-Akpore expressed gratitude to the Management and Staff of the Commission for their support and cooperation during his service and for organising a befitting valedictory ceremony in his honour, saying he enjoyed working with the NCC.
“This is one event I will not forget in a hurry. Indeed, I feel I am very lucky and singularly blessed and very appreciative of the privilege to work with a leading telecoms regulator like the NCC. For me, it is once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” he said.
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