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Ericsson Mobility Report: Sub-Saharan Africa forecast to have highest growth in total mobile data traffic

  • Sub-Saharan Africa is forecast to be the region with the highest growth in total mobile data traffic, rising by 37 percent annually between 2022 and 2028.
  • 4G subscriptions in Sub Saharan Africa are expected to rise from 270 million in 2022 to 590 million in 2028.
Press release
Jul 17, 2023
Ericsson Mobility Report sub-Saharan Africa

Despite the challenging macroeconomic environment, nations in Sub-Saharan Africa are expected to invest in network infrastructure, driven by a large youthful population and a high demand for connectivity, the June 2023 edition of the Ericsson (NASDAQ: ERIC) Mobility Report shows. This will also enable new growth opportunities for service providers driven by advanced mobile data and value-added services such as mobile banking and payments.

The latest Ericsson Mobility Report also reveals that Sub-Saharan Africa is forecast to be the region with the highest growth in total mobile data traffic, rising by 37 percent annually between 2022 and 2028 as service providers across the continent continue to invest in 4G networks and migrate customers from 2G and 3G. This increase in data traffic will primarily be driven by a 4 times increase in smartphone traffic in the period, with average data per active smartphone settling at 19 GB per month in 2028.

5G subscriptions are rising in every region worldwide and forecast to reach 1.5 billion by the end of 2023. More than 10 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa have launched commercial 5G networks to date, with more planned, raising the forecast of 5G subscriptions to 13 percent of the total subscriptions base in 2028.

Hossam Kandeel

Hossam Kandeel, Vice President and Head of Global Customer Unit MTN and Customer Unit MTN Africa at Ericsson Middle East and Africa, says: “We have witnessed great interest in upgrading networks to 4G and, even 5G in Sub Saharan Africa.

Hence, it comes as no surprise that the region is forecasted to have the highest growth in total mobile data traffic. The expansion of 4G and 5G networks will facilitate connectivity and innovation for Africans everywhere.”

4G will be the main contributor to new subscriptions up to 2028, accounting for more than half of all mobile subscriptions at the end of the period. 4G subscriptions in Sub Saharan Africa are expected to rise from 270 million in 2022 to 590 million in 2028.

While 2G remains an important technology in the region due to low-priced devices, affordability of service plans and a large number of rural subscribers, 2G subscriptions are projected to continuously decline between now and the end of the forecast period, 2028, at which point they will account for 29 percent of the total connections.   

The June 2023 Ericsson Mobility Report includes four in-depth articles:             

  • Exploring how traffic patterns drive network evolution
  • Exploring differentiated service with 5G networks
  • AR uptake enabled by mobile networks
  • Mobile quality of experience: Network readiness for new services

Read the full June 2023 Ericsson Mobility Report.

Related links:
Ericsson Mobility Report page
Ericsson Mobility Report Business Review edition
Ericsson 5G
Ericsson 4G and 5G Fixed Wireless Access
Ericsson: Breaking the energy curve
Ericsson: 5G the next wave – what does consumers want

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