VENTURES AFRICA – Social media boom, abundance of content-rich apps, rich video content and access to cheaper Smartphones has fuelled internet usage in Africa, doubling the use of data from an average of 37,500TB (terabyte) a month in the year 2013 to 76,000TB of data a month this year.
According to the June 2014 Sub-Saharan Africa Mobility Report by Ericsson, the ongoing digital revolution will continue in the coming year (2015) as data usage will increase to as much as 147 000TB per month because consumers, networks and media networks are now embracing the use 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 percent forcing us to revise our existing predictions,” Fredrik Jejdling, regional head of Ericsson Sub-Saharan Africa said.
According to the new predictions, data revolution is expected to grow at 65 percent to 2019 and beyond to 764 000TB by the end of 2019.
Ericsson says mobile data in Sub-Sahara Africa will grow twenty times the anticipated global expansion in the next five years (2013 and 2019).
The report also states that 75 percent of mobile subscriptions will be Internet inclusive (3G or 4G) while voice call traffic is expected to grow in the next five years in the region.
Consumers in Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa – Africa’s three major growing economies – are already using video TV and media services from their Smartphones more, the Communication and IT service provider noted in the report.
Jejdling added that as cheaper smartphones continue to flood the African market, Africans from all social strata will be able to access the internet through their mobile phones.
This will also help small businesses, health and agriculture as the report noted that “M-commerce can offer endless opportunities for entrepreneurs…and farmers are fans of mobile wallets.”
Financial transaction is also expected to increase online as a result of the increasing use of mobile data.
The report further predicts that mobile subscription will stand at 930 million in sub-Saharan Africa by the end of 2019 while Smartphone and broadband subscriptions will be about 55 million and 710 million respectively.
“Mobile users in the region have shown a preference for using their device for a variety of activities that are normally performed on laptops or desktops,” the report said, backing up its predictions of increase in mobile subscriptions.
The report stressed the need for the need for “Affordable access to mobile broadband is not a luxury, but a necessity in regions such as sub-Saharan Africa.”