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Nigeria adds 3 million mobile subscribers for place in global top five

Nigeria adds 3 million mobile subscribers for place in global top five

Nigeria recorded three million additional mobile subscriptions in the first quarter of 2018 to secure a place among the top five countries, according to the latest Mobility Report by Ericsson.

The West African nation ranked above Bangladesh (+2 million additional mobile subscribers) in 5th place, followed by Indonesia (+6 million) India (+16 million).

China was positioned in first place with 53 million additional mobile subscriptions.

According to the report there was an increase of 98 million mobile subscribers globally, and the number of mobile subscribers exceeds the size of the population in many countries (including Nigeria) mainly because of inactive subscriptions, multiple device ownership or optimisation of subscriptions for different types of calls.

It adds that there are around 5.3 billion individual mobile subscribers globally compared to 7.9 billion subscriptions.

Even with the surge in Nigeria, Sub-Saharan Africa was found to have the lowest subscription penetration rate in Q1 2018 (83% of population) among the nine global regions covered.

Ericsson forecasts that growth in the Sub-Saharan Africa region will reach 930 million subscriptions by 2023, which amounts to a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5%, while smartphone subscriptions are expected to hit the 750 million mark in the same period.

The company also estimates that by 2023 there will be 3.5 billion cellular IOT connections worldwide and 1 billion 5G subscriptions, which will account for around 20% of mobile data traffic.

Testing 5G's potential

Ericsson and MTN South Africa this week conducted what the companies described as "the first automotive use case for 5G in Africa" from Pretoria

The companies mounted terminals in a vehicle on a live 5G network trial, using 100MHz of spectrum in the 28GHz band.

The demonstration included obscuring the windscreen and leaving the driver to navigatethe track using the live feed from a 4K video camera to a VR headset with throughput of more than 1.6Gbps and less than ~5ms latency on the connection - which organisers claim is a record of mobile 5G performance on the continent.

Rafiah Ibrahim, Head of Market Area, Middle East & Africa at Ericsson said, "5G presents an opportunity for operators to improve their existing consumer businesses and address previously untapped value chains in the digitalisation of industries. The collaboration between MTN South Africa and Ericsson has led to an exploration of a variety of use cases and applications for digital transformation of industries. These include the automotive, mining, transportation, agriculture, manufacturing and utilities sectors..."

Wanda Matandela, Chief Enterprise Business Officer, MTN SA said the pilot helps them to not only assess and prepare their network to roll out 5G in the future, but also to future-proof their infrastructure "to enrich customer experience and take industries to the next level."

Fredrik Jejdling, Executive Vice President and Head of Business Area Networks at Ericsson said the 4% year-on-year growth in mobile subscriptions worldwide in Q1 (a total of 7.9 billion) reflects an important year for the international telecommunications industry.

"2018 may seem to be just another year for an industry that has become used to high growth in numbers for smartphone subscriptions and mobile traffic. However, with the developments in 5G and IOT, I believe it will be a pivotal year for our industry."

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