News Column

Smartphones spur Internet surge

June 5, 2014

Staff Writer

Consumers in SA, Kenya and Nigeria increasingly use video TV and media services from their smartphones.

Communications technology and services provider Ericsson has revealed the scale of Sub-Saharan Africa's ongoing data revolution, with traffic growth doubling over the past year.

The June 2014 Sub-Saharan Africa Ericsson Mobility Report ( shows that in 2014, phone users accessed 76000TB of data per month, double the 2013 figure of 37500TB per month. These figures are expected to double again next year, with mobile phone users accessing 147000TB per month.

The rise of social media, content-rich apps and video content accessed from a new range of cheaper smartphones has prompted the rise, according to Ericsson. Consumers in SA, Kenya and Nigeria are also increasingly using video TV and media services from their smartphones.

Fredrik Jejdling, regional head of Ericsson Sub-Saharan Africa, says the region is undergoing a mobile digital revolution, with consumers, networks and even media companies waking up the possibilities of 3G and 4G technology. "We have seen the trend emerging over a few years, but in the past 12 months the digital traffic has increased over 100% ? forcing us to revise our existing predictions."

Cut-rate phones

In the next five years, the report's findings show voice call traffic in Sub-Saharan Africa will double and there will be an explosion in mobile data, with usage in the region growing 20 times between 2013 and 2019 ? twice the anticipated global expansion.

The report predicts that by 2019, 75% of mobile subscriptions will be Internet inclusive (3G or 4G).

This comes after the launch in 2014 of a number of smartphones for under $50 (about R540) by major device manufacturers a development that allows the rapid expansion of 3G and 4G technology across the region, says Ericsson.

In just three years' time, the 2014 report predicts, 3G technology will become the dominant technology across the region.

Jejdling notes the continued 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."

Sweden-based Ericsson regularly performs traffic measurements in over 100 live networks across the world. Predictions have been made in collaboration with Ericsson ConsumerLab, using population and macroeconomic trends combined with the company's own anonymised data.

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Source: ITWeb

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