Pundits Predict 200% growth in Smartphone Adoption in Africa by 2021

Smartphone subscriptions will increase by more than 200% between 2015 and 2021 in the Middle East and Africa, according to the latest Ericsson Mobility Report.

Growth in mobile broadband subscriptions is expected to quadruple across the two regions in the same period, due to a young and growing population, rising GDP and smartphone uptake.

“In Sub-Saharan Africa, WCDMA/HSPA will become predominant towards 2021, due to the high number of lower income consumers using 3G-enabled handsets. Combined with increasing availability of low cost smartphones and demand for mobile broadband services, there will be a shift from a voice-centric GSM/EDGE-only majority of subscriptions in 2015 to a majority of WCDMA/HSPA and LTE-subscriptions by 2021,” the Report states.

The projection corroborates a claim by Eric Cador, the president of Lenovo’s Europe, Middle East and Africa operations, that prolific use of smarphones to access the internet has positioned Africa as ‘the next great market’.

“Africa is one of the first continents when first-hand users are testing the internet, phone-first. That’s pretty new, which makes Africa the biggest continent for smartphones – bigger than China, bigger than India,” Cador had said in his presentation at this year’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

Ericsson notes that the Middle East and Africa will see a shift from 2G to a market where almost 80% of subscriptions will be for 3G/4G and a 12 x growth in smartphone traffic within the six-year period.

According to the report, Africa, like Central Europe and Middle East, will experience a 13-fold increase in mobile data traffic up to 2021, driven by strong growth in smartphone subscriptions (particularly for LTE), and demand for data-intensive applications like video.

It notes that there are large differences in subscribers’ data consumption patterns between networks, markets and subscriber segments. This is influenced by data plans, user device capabilities, network performance and switching to a new version of the same device.

Source: IT Web Africa

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