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Research conducted by Dataxis highlights the steady rise of mobile internet connectivity in Africa. 4G mobile subscribers are expected to reach 296 million by 2022 compared to 24 million for 2016. Dataxis forecasts that 4G network will be accessible in all 54 countries.
The number of 3G enabled SIMS will continue to rise simultaneously, particularly in countries with low broadband connectivity, but the growth rate will slowly decrease with the arrival of 4G network. Mobile broadband subscribers are therefore expected to grow into the main part of mobile subscribers with 54 per cent of total mobile sims.
In 2016, most of 4G subscribers come from a few leading countries in northern and southern Africa. Significant disparities in 4G development and adoption still exist depending on the country, for instance, Morocco, with its 3.4 million 4G subscribers, accounts for 14 per cent of total 4G subscribers in Africa.
4G penetration remains indeed very low in the rest of Africa and Dataxis forecasts that 4G subscribers in Sub-Saharan Africa (excluding South Africa) will reach 58 per cent of total 4G subscribers in Africa in 2022 compared to only 3 per cent in 2016. The adoption of 4G goes along with another relevant change which is the increase in smart devices penetration. Dataxis research outlines a surge from 24 per cent of the population in 2016 up to 60 per cent of the population in 2022.
Dataxis’ analysis sheds light on the importance 4G technology accessed through smartphones will acquire in the next 5 years. Broadband connectivity in Africa will be achieved almost exclusively through mobile, with only few households equipped with PCs and wireline broadband. This growth in broadband connectivity will enable new players such as OTT and SVoD platforms to thrive and reach their end-user in an environment where data access is no longer a hurdle.