Mobile broadband subscriptions will hit one billion in Africa by 2020 – Ovum

Mobile broadband connections in Africa will number one billion by the end of 2020 as its rapid growth makes it the dominant mobile market. Mobile broadband users across the continent will grow nearly seven fold on the 147 million subscribers at the start of 2015, according to the latest market forecast from Ovum.

South Africa will be the most favourable market, according to trends identified by researchers, who tracked market conditions in 20 African countries and studied the factors that may affect future demand for digital media apps, music, publishing, OTT video and games.

In the next half decade African mobile and wireless operators can expect a near exponential growth in demand for mobile broadband, says Ovum’s Africa Market Outlook, 2014–20 report. The enabling factors in the immediate future will include the ongoing rollout of 3G W-CDMA and 4G LTE networks on the continent and the availability of more affordable smartphones and data devices.

Subsequently, mobile broadband will become an increasingly large share of the overall mobile market in Africa. At the start of 2015, mobile broadband subscribers accounted for 17% of the total of 884 million total mobile subscriptions in Africa. However, by the end of 2020, they will make up 76% (i.e. 1 billion) of the total of 1.32 billion mobile subscriptions in Africa.

Africa’s fixed-broadband market is also set to grow strongly, albeit from a low base, as operators step up their installation of wireless and fiber networks for home and business broadband. The number of fibre to the home broadband (FTTH/B) subscriptions in Africa will rise from the latest count of 166,000 (as measured at the end of 2014) to 1.2 million at the end of 2020, forecasts Ovum.

According to Ovum’s Digital Media Opportunity Index: Sub-Saharan Africa, South Africa has the most favourable marketwith a ranking of 4.35 out of 5 on Ovum’s research index. The next best markets in the digital media opportunity rankings are Angola, Kenya, Nigeria, and Ghana.

“The South African market is among the most advanced on the continent, so it is to be expected that it leads. Nevertheless, the Index shows that there are digital media opportunities across the continent,” said report author Matthew Reed, Practice Leader for Middle East & Africa at Ovum.

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