By David Mugabe
At least 75% of mobile subscriptions will be internet inclusive (3G or 4G) in sub-Sahara by 2019, a report predicts.
The June 2014 sub-Saharan Africa Ericsson Mobility report predicts that in three years’ time, 3G technology will become the dominant technology across the region.
3G or third generation technology networks support services that provide a fast information transfer rate. Fredrik Jejdling, the regional head of Ericsson in sub-Saharan Africa, says: “The rise of cheap smart phones will allow vast portions of the population — from middle classes in cities to small businesses in rural areas — access to mobile broadband.”
The growth predictions are backed by the launch in 2014 of a number of smart phones for under $50 by a number of major device makers allowing the rapid expansion of 3G and 4G technology across the region.
“M-commerce can offer endless opportunities for entrepreneurs and we’ve found that farmers are fans of mobile wallets and teenagers want to watch music videos on their smart phones,” says Jejdling.
Ericsson performs traffic measurements in over 100 live networks across the world. For Uganda, costs of devices have been dropping considerably allowing the growth of data with data constituting about 15% revenue base of operators, according to estimates from telecom operators.
But this penetration would be higher, if data costs were lower.
The report shows that in 2014, phone users accessed 76,000 terabyte (TB) of data per month, doubling the 2013 figure of 37,500.
In 2015, the figure is expected to double again with mobile phone users accessing 147,000 TB per month. The rise of social media, content-rich apps and video content accessed from a new range of cheaper smart phones has prompted the rise.
Consumers in Kenya, South Africa and Nigeria are also increasingly using video TV and media services from their smart phones.
Mobile Internet use to rise