Mobile internet data has doubled in the past one year in Sub-Saharan Africa, according to an Ericsson study. The June 2014 Sub-Saharan Africa Ericsson Mobility Report shows that in 2014 phone users accessed 76,000 TB (terabyte) of data per month, compared to 37,500 TB per month in 2013. The study estimates that mobile data will double in 2015 hitting a high of 147,000 TB per month in 2015, affirming the region’s ongoing data revolution.
The rise of social media, content-rich apps and video content accessed from a new range of cheaper smartphones has prompted the rise. Consumers in Kenya, South Africa and Nigeria are also increasingly using video TV and media services from their smartphones.
“Sub-Saharan Africa is currently undergoing a mobile digital revolution with consumers, networks and even media companies are wakening up the possibilities of 3G and 4G technology. We have seen the trend emerging over a few years but in the past twelve months the digital traffic has increased over 100% forcing us to revise our existing predictions,” said Fredrik Jejdling, Regional Head of Ericsson Sub-Saharan Africa.
In the next five years, the Report’s findings show that the voice call traffic in Sub-Saharan Africa will double and there will be an explosion in mobile data with usage in Sub-Saharan Africa growing 20 times between 2013 and 2019, twice the anticipated global expansion. By 2019 the report predicts that 75 per cent of mobile subscriptions will be internet inclusive (3G or 4G).
This growth has been predicted following the launch in 2014 of a number of smartphones for under $50 USD by a number of major device manufacturers allowing the rapid expansion of 3G and 4G technology across the region. The 2014 Report predicts that in just three years’ time 3G technology will become the dominant technology across the region.
“The rise of cheap smartphones will allow vast portions of the population – from middle classes in cities to small businesses in rural areas – access to mobile broadband. M-commerce can offer endless opportunities for entrepreneurs and we’ve found that farmers are fans of mobile wallets – as well as teenagers wanting to watch music videos on their smartphone,” explains Jejdling.