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Broadband makes 74% of mobile subscriptions


[FILE] Globally, mobile broadband subscriptions now make up 74 per cent of all mobile subscriptions

Globally, mobile broadband subscriptions now make up 74 per cent of all mobile subscriptions, while close to 95 per cent of all subscriptions will be for mobile broadband by the end of 2024.

This is according to the Ericsson’s Mobility Report that also projected that at the end of 2018, more than 20 per cent of all mobile subscriptions will be for LTE in the Middle East and North Africa, while in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), LTE will account for just over seven per cent of subscriptions.

The region, which Nigeria is part of, is anticipated to evolve over the forecast period and, by 2024, 90 per cent of subscriptions are expected to be for mobile broadband.

According to the report, there will be 8.9 billion mobile subscriptions, 8.4 billion mobile broadband subscriptions with 6.2 billion unique mobile subscribers in 2024. The driving forces behind this shift include a young and growing population with increasing digital skills, as well as more affordable smartphones.

Also in the Middle East and North Africa region, it is anticipated that there will be commercial 5G deployments with leading communications service providers by 2019 and significant volumes in 2021.

Although, in Sub-Saharan Africa, 5G subscriptions in discernible volumes are expected from 2022, key drivers for 5G deployment include increased network capacity, lower cost per gigabyte and new use case requirements.

The report has projected that 5G is expected to reach more than 40 per cent global population coverage with 1.5 billion subscriptions for enhanced mobile broadband by the end of 2024, which would make 5G the fastest generation of cellular technology to be rolled out on a global scale.

Nigeria, which now operates on 3G and 4G services as provided by telecommunications operators, had last week stressed its readiness to rollout 5G services across the country by 2020.

5G is expected to increase speed of internet connectivity and also boost machine to machine communication as well as human to device communication, where humans will communicate and remotely control 5G connected devices.

The use cases for IoT technologies include things like utilities, smart cities, logistics networks, agriculture, health, manufacturing, and wearables.

By 2024, according to Ericsson, 5G should account for roughly 25 per cent of all mobile data traffic. North America and Northeast Asia are expected to lead the 5G adoption curve.

Ericsson expects 5G to account for 55 per cent of all mobile data in the U.S. by 2024. In the Asian region that figure could reach 43 percent. North America and North East Asia are expected to lead the 5G uptake.

In North America, 5G subscriptions are forecast to account for 55 percent of mobile subscriptions by the end of 2024.

In North East Asia, the corresponding forecast figure is more than 43 per cent. In Western Europe, 5G is forecast to account for some 30 per cent of mobile subscriptions in the region by end of 2024.

North America still has the highest data traffic per smartphone, set to reach 8.6 gigabytes per month by the end of this year – which can be compared to streaming HD video for over 12 hours monthly.

From 2018-2024, total mobile data traffic is expected to increase by a factor of five, with 5G networks projected to carry 25 per cent of mobile traffic by the end of the period.

As the IoT application market is widening, more advanced use cases requiring enhanced network capabilities are emerging as the report predicted that cellular Internet of Things (IoT) connections would surpass four billion in the next six years.

“There is an emerging trend toward communications service providers deploying one IoT network that supports both Cat-M1 and NB-IoT technologies.

This enables them to address the diverse and evolving requirements across a wide range of use cases in different verticals, such as utilities, smart cities, logistics, agriculture, manufacturing and wearables.

Massive IoT cellular technologies such as NB-IoT and Cat-M1 are taking off and driving growth in the number of cellular IoT connections worldwide. Of the 4.1 billion cellular IoT connections forecast for 2024, North East Asia is anticipated to account for 2.7 billion – a figure reflecting both the ambitions and size of the cellular IoT market in this region.

“Large-scale deployments, and the resulting high-volume chipsets, are expected to continue to reduce chipset prices. This is leading to further acceleration of the growth in cellular IoT connections,” the Ericsson Mobility Report said.

Explaining the report through video conferencing, Head of West Africa at Ericsson Middle East and African operations, Nora Wahby, said of the 4.1 billion cellular IoT connections forecast for 2024, North East Asia was expected to account for 2.7 billion – a figure reflecting both the ambition and size of the cellular IoT market in this region.

According to her, mobile data traffic grew 79 per cent between Q3 2017 and Q3 2018, with China a key engine.

“Mobile data traffic in Q3 2018 grew close to 79 per cent year-on-year, which is the highest rate since 2013. Increased data-traffic-per-smartphone in North East Asia– mainly in China – has pushed the global figure notably higher.

“With a traffic growth per smartphone of around 140 per cent between end 2017 and end of 2018, the region has the second highest data traffic per smartphone at 7.3 gigabytes per month. This is comparable to streaming high definition (HD) video for around 10 hours per month,” Wahby said.

The Executive Vice President and Head of Business Area Networks at Ericsson, Fredrik Jejdling, said: “As 5G now hits the market, its coverage build-out and uptake in subscriptions are projected to be faster than for previous generations. At the same time, cellular IoT continues to grow strongly. What we are seeing is the start of fundamental changes that will impact not just the consumer market but many industries.”

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