Data consumption is expected to surge in Nigeria and other Sub-Saharan African countries by 2028.

This would be driven by smartphone traffic, which would witness a four times increase to hit 19 GB per month in 2028, according to Ericsson Mobility Report (June 2023).

It said, “Sub-Saharan Africa is forecast to be the region with the highest growth in total mobile data traffic, rising by 37 per cent annually between 2022 and 2028 as service providers across the continent continue to invest in 4G networks and migrate customers from 2G and 3G.

“This increase in data traffic will primarily be driven by a four times increase in smartphone traffic in the period, with average data per active smartphone settling at 19 GB per month in 2028.”

As of the end of 2022, the average monthly mobile data usage per smartphone was 4.7 GB in the region. The growth in mobile traffic was expected to be driven by an uptake in 5G, which would drive video streaming consumption. By 2028, video streaming would be responsible for 80 per cent of all mobile data consumption.

Ericsson noted, “However, if adoption is stronger than expected, data traffic could increase significantly more than currently anticipated toward the end of the forecast period, particularly in the uplink.

“Currently, video traffic is estimated to account for 71 per cent of all mobile data traffic, and this share is forecast to increase to 80 per cent in 2028. Populous markets that launch 5G early are likely to lead in terms of traffic growth over the forecast period. 5G’s share of mobile data traffic was 15 per cent at the end of 2022, an increase from 9 per cent at the end of 2021.

“This share is forecast to grow to 66 per cent in 2028.”

The global mobile network data traffic reached 126 EB in the first quarter of 2023, it was also double of the 66 EB per month it was in Q1 2021. According to the report, this traffic growth was being driven by both rising smartphone subscriptions and increasing average data volume per subscription, fueled primarily by increased viewing of video content.

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