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Ovum: 1bn mobile broadband subscriptions in Africa in 2020

Ovum_Africacom_2015The number of mobile broadband connections in Africa will climb from 147 million last year to reach one billion in 2020, according to Ovum.

The research firm said that the ongoing rollout of 3G W-CDMA and 4G LTE networks and the increasing affordability of smartphones and other data devices will help drive the “rapid growth” of mobile broadband in Africa over the next few years.

Mobile broadband accounted for just 17% of the 884 million total mobile subscriptions in Africa at the end of 2014, but is forecast to account for 76% of the total of 1.32 billion mobile subscriptions on the continent at the end of 2020, according to Ovum. The number of total mobile subscriptions in Africa is expected to cross the one billion mark during 2016.

“Although the pace of growth in overall connection numbers in Africa has slowed and the regional industry is facing some headwinds from rising competition and weaker economic conditions, there are substantial growth opportunities on the continent in data connectivity as well as in digital services that are based on those data connections,” said Matthew Reed, practice leader for Middle East and Africa at Ovum.

“The South African market is among the most advanced on the continent, so it is to be expected that it leads in potential for digital media services.”

Ovum predicts that Africa’s fixed-broadband market will grow strongly from a low base, as operators on the continent step up wireless and fiber network broadband deployments. The number of FTTH/B subscriptions in Africa will rise from about 166,000 at the end of 2014 to 1.2 million at the end of 2020, forecasts Ovum.