Regional mobile data traffic to grow 14-fold by 2020

Ericsson report says average smartphone will consume 5GB monthly, compared to 0.8GB today

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Regional mobile data traffic to grow 14-fold by 2020 Ibrahim: The ICT transformation has been phenomenal across the region
By  Tom Paye Published  June 7, 2015

Mobile data traffic in the Middle East and North-East Africa (RMEA) region is on pace to grow 14-fold between 2014 and 2020, according to the inaugural appendix to the Ericsson Mobility Report for this region.

By 2020, the amount of data used monthly by each active smartphone will increase substantially from an average of 0.8GB in 2014 to approximately 5GB, Ericsson said.

Data -intensive utility, communication and entertainment services are commonly used by smartphone owners. Mobile video traffic will continue to grow driven by video streaming services and increasing prevalence of video in social media, the vendor added.

The huge amount of mobile data traffic growth to be seen in this region is in contrast to the projected nine-fold increase in mobile data traffic globally, Ericsson said. The RMEA region had around 680m mobile subscriptions at the end of 2014, with the vendor forecasting a compound annual growth rate of 6% between 2014 and 2020, resulting in 970m mobile subscriptions by 2020.

The report said that in 2020 the growth of technology coupled with the mobile subscriptions will create never-before-seen levels of connectivity in the region. Ericsson said that this growth would necessitate a rethink of technological needs.

"The ICT transformation has been phenomenal across the region. Such transformation is far beyond simple technological innovation, it calls us to reshape existing business models and infrastructure environments," said Rafiah Ibrahim, president of Ericsson Middle East and Africa.

"In the future, it will address completely new needs arising from technological and consumer behavioral changes. Just imagine the possibilities."

In terms of data traffic, Ericsson said that LTE subscriptions are on the rise and are expected to triple in 2015 alone, and surpass 210 million by 2020, equating to around 20% of all mobile subscriptions.

At the end of 2014, 17%, or 125 million of all mobile subscriptions, were attributed to smartphones. However, as inexpensive smartphones become abundant and mobile broadband rollouts accelerate, smartphone subscriptions will increase across all the markets, Ericsson said. Of the 970m mobile subscriptions predicted at the end of 2020, 40% will come from smartphones.  

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