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Ericsson Predicts Growth In Broadband Subscription And LTE Network In Sub-Saharan Africa


Ericsson, an ICT solution firm recently made a forecast in the mobile broadband subscription. It predicts a 16% growth from 350 million in 2017 to 880 million by 2023 in sub-Saharan Africa.  

A couple of months back, Ericsson revealed in a report that a research confirmed that as mobile broadband increased by 10%, it translated to a boost in the Gross Domestic Product(GDP) worldwide in 2016. This means that mobile broadband has an immediate positive effect on a country’s economic outlook. It’s not surprising, therefore, that many countries have taken the path to boost mobile broadband.

Harald Edquist, a researcher in Macroeconomics at Ericsson Research said that ‘many countries in the developing world have used mobile broadband technology to leapfrog in their economic development in the past 10-15 years’. He said further that investing in broadband in enough to yield ‘productivity improvements’ and ‘economic opportunities that simply would not be possible without mobile broadband’.

In the most recent mobility report, it based its numbers on expectations from mobile service providers who are working painstakingly to boost the country’s productivity. It said:

Mobile traffic in the Middle East and Africa will increase at a compound annual growth rate of 49% while mobile subscriptions for the total MEA region are expected to grow at 4% CAGR between 2017 and 2023, from 1.59 billion in 2017 to 2.03 billion by 2023. This equates to 3% growth in the Middle East and North Africa, from 890 million mobile subscriptions to 1. 04 billion subscriptions between 2017 and 2023. On the other hand, mobile broadband is forecast to grow by 15% for the MEA region from 820 million in 2017 to 1.85 billion by 2023. This broken down into a 13% increase for the Middle East and North Africa from 460 million mobile broadband subscriptions in 2017 to 980 million by 2023.’

The report also noted that mobile service providers across African countries have experienced a shortage of revenue due to financial crises in some regions. However, the Internet of Things has been deployed to keep things at bay and to facilitate the digital transformation of industries with series of alternatives and opportunities to explore new streams of revenue. 

With respect to this, cellular IoT subscriptions are predicted to experience a 30% growth from 35 million in 2017 to 159 million by 2023.

Rafiah Ibrahim, the head of Ericsson, Middle East, and Africa said the success and significant growth is as a result of a larger capacity and coverage of networks which he owed to individual operators. He said, ‘we are supporting operators across the region throughout the different phases of the network evolution, enabling best-performing networks and differentiated customer experience’.

Other predictions include a growth in LTE network. Accordingly, the current LTE network should see data speeds that are ten times faster than the current 3G network. The report said that ‘the LTE subscriptions in the Middle East and North Africa will grow by 23% from 160 million in 2017 to 570 million by 2023. For the sub-Saharan African region, the LTE subscriptions will expand by 47% from 30million in 2017 to 310 million by 2023’.

These predictions will serve as the backbone for more investments in broadband for African countries and improvement for network operators in the coming years.

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