Africa will break through 1 billion mobile internet connections by 2022

15 November 2017 3 min. read

According to a forecast from London-based consulting firm Ovum, the African telecom market is en-route to monumental figures by 2022, on the back of a projected doubling of the number of mobile broadband connections across the continent during the same period. The predictions are based on Ovum’s Forecaster data service. 

Consulting firm Ovum recently launched its Forecaster, which makes use of detailed historical data and operator Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to provide organisations with comprehensively informed market predictions. The predictions can go a long way in aiding the strategic decision making process, providing information on opportunities and drawbacks of industries across the board. The firm boasts the forecaster to be the consulting industry’s most powerful market data and forecasting service.

Using the Forecaster, Ovum has released the ‘Africa Market Outlook’ report, which details a number of trends across various industries. Among these is the telecoms market, which is forecasted for monumental growth in years to come. As digitalisation permeates a number of markets across the globe and the price of smartphones have been in a continuous nose dive, 4G LTE connections and even 3G W-CDMA connections are gaining popularity across the continent. 

Africa will break through 1 billion mobile internet connections by 2022

As per the Forecaster, W-CDMA is set to become Africa’s largest subscription-based mobile technology by 2019. By 2022, the number of W-CDMA connections on the continent will grow to 858 million. Meanwhile, the LTE arena is also set to grow, but to a much lesser extent, forecasted to reach 210 million subscriptions across the continent by the end of 2022.

5G connections will also launch on the continent by 2021. However, much like LTE connections, these will take some time to gather momentum. At any rate, the combination of these new connectivity options will see the number of mobile broadband connections on the continent to more than double between now and 2022, going up from its current 419 million subscriptions to a staggering 1.07 billion subscriptions. 

Other digital subscriptions are also due to skyrocket over the next five years. The number of Pay-TV subscriptions, for instance, is due to grow from 22.4 million currently to 28.6 million by 2022, at a a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5%, having registered a year-on-year (YoY) growth rate of 10.3% last year.

Meanwhile, smartphone subscriptions are due to rise on the back of their falling prices. The number of subscriptions is due to grow from 413.9 million in 2017 to 996.8 million in 2022, having registered YoY of 49.5% last year and due for a CAGR of 29.2% over the next five years.

The rising data connectivity will be accompanied by a significant rise in revenues for data operators. Commenting on the forecasted growth, Matthew Reed, the Practice Leader for Middle East and Africa at Ovum, said, “Data connectivity is growing strongly in Africa, and there are also good prospects on the continent in areas such as digital media, mobile financial services, and the Internet of Things, but as Africa’s TMT market becomes more convergent and complex, service providers are under increasing pressure to make the transition from being providers of communications services, and to become providers of digital services.”