Ericsson: 1.9bn MEA mobile subscriptions by 2019
Latest figures from Ericsson Mobility Report suggest rapid mobile growth
The number of mobile subscriptions in the MEA region will grow from 1.2 billion in 2013 to 1.9 billion in 2019, according to figures from the latest Ericsson Mobility Report.
The report said that, by 2019, 50% of handset subscriptions in the Middle East and Africa will be for smartphones, which will drive data traffic growth. Ericsson said that it expected an 11-fold increase in data traffic in the Central Europe, Middle East and Africa (CEMEA) region between 2013 and 2019.
This is second only to anticipated growth in the Asia Pacific region, Ericsson added.
The report also showed that 288 4G LTE networks had commercially launched in 104 countries. Ericsson said that this number will continue to grow, and predicted that more than 65% of the world's population will be covered by LTE in 2019.
"There is a phenomenal growth in the MEA region as the development of networks, economic growth and opportunities create more connectivity potential in Sub-Saharan Africa in particular, while the uptake of smart devices continues to increase in the Middle East to drive LTE figures higher," said Teemu Salmi, vice president and head of operations at Ericsson MENA.
In 2015, the report said, the total number of mobile subscriptions will exceed the world's population. Mobile subscriptions have grown by 7% year-over-year, with 120m additions in Q1 2014 alone. Mobile broadband subscriptions will also continue to grow, reaching 7.6bn by the end of 2019 and representing more than 80% of total mobile subscriptions, the report added.
By 2016, the number of smartphone subscriptions will exceed subscriptions for basic phones, Ericsson predicted. By 2019, the number of smartphone subscriptions is expected to reach 5.6bn, according to the report.
At the moment, mobile penetration in the Middle East is at 107%, with around 365m mobile subscribers, the report said. In Q1 2014, 65% of all phones sold were smartphones, it added.