News Column

Mobile Internet Use to Quadruple Annually, Says New Report

June 9, 2014

Ben Gasore

Mobile Internet usage is expected to increase 20 times in sub-Sahara Africa within the next five years, a new report indicates.

The June 2014 Sub-Saharan Africa Ericsson Mobility Report released last week shows that in 2014, mobile phone users in the region accessed 76,000 terabytes (TB) of data per month, double the 2013 figure of 37,500 TB per month.

In 2015, the figure is also expected to double, with mobile phone users accessing 147,000 TB per month.

The report also indicates that the 3G technology will outstrip 2G by 2017 to become the region's dominant form of mobile connection.

Ericsson predicts that there will be over 930 million mobile subscribers in sub-Saharan Africa by the end of 2019, with 557 million smartphones and 710 million broadband subscriptions.

According to Shiletsi Makhofane, the head of marketing and strategy at Ericsson, the growth is due to a surge of social media usage, content-rich applications and video content accessed from a new range of cheaper smartphones.

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 embracing the possibilities of 3G and 4G technology," he said.

He said the 100 per cent increase in Internet usage forced them to revise their predictions.

By 2019, the report predicts that 75 per cent of mobile subscriptions will be Internet inclusive (3G or 4G).

According to March statistics from the Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Authority (Rura), there are a total of 2,311,855 Internet users in Rwanda, with the majority of people using mobile internet services provided by the three local telecom firms.

Airtel had a total of 313,849 internet users as of March 31, 2014, while Tigo and MTN had 1,043,319 and 952,266 subscribers, respectively, according to the statistics.

Makhofane said if all the industry stakeholders look to produce cheaper smartphones, offer cheaper mobile broadband subscription rates and produce relevant applications that solve challenges in all economic sectors, then the feat can be achieved.

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Source: AllAfrica

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