This is according to the latest Ericsson Mobility Report, which analyses mobile trends leveraging big data from live networks worldwide.
The report stated that there were 26 million new subscriptions added in Q3 across Africa.
It also predicted that by 2020, 90 per cent of the world’s population over six years old will have a mobile phone, smartphone subscriptions are set to top 6.1 billion and 85 per cent of Middle East and Africa mobile subscriptions will be 3G/4G (third or fourth generation).
(READ MORE: The 2014 mobile marketing boom)
“The increased availability of low-cost smartphones in sub-Saharan Africa will lead to a rapid increase of smartphone subscriptions in the region. However, GSM/EDGE-only subscriptions will remain the most common subscription type for the next five years due to the high numbers of lower income consumers using 2G-enabled handsets,” said Fredrik Jejdling, president & regional head of Ericsson sub-Saharan Africa.
Also, 65 to 70 per cent of all phones sold in Q3 were smartphones, compared with 55 per cent in the same quarter for 2013.
The report stated that while smartphone subscriptions are set to reach 800 million by the end of 2014, there is still room for growth in this sector.
“Smartphones currently account for just 37 per cent of all mobile phone subscriptions, meaning that many users have yet to make the switch to the more feature-rich, internet-friendly option. The report predicts a strong uptake in the coming years as the number rises from 2.7 billion smartphone subscriptions today to the forecasted 6.1 billion in 2020,” said the report.
Video continues to play a major role in 4G dominated networks, making up 45 to 55 per cent of mobile traffic. Devices are also evolving constantly in order to improve video quality.
“In terms of future outlook, Ericsson estimates that mobile video traffic will increase tenfold by 2020, ultimately constituting around 55 per cent of all mobile data traffic in 2020.”
5G is set to be deployed in 2020, and is predicted to have a faster uptake than 4G LTE due to new radio technologies.