Although most of the world is in the early deployment stages of Long Tem Evolution (LTE), also known as 4G technology, mobile phone companies are already researching the next generation of mobile technology, 5G, according to Ericsson’s Vice President and Head of Sales in MENA region Tarek Saadi.
According to Ericsson’s Mobility Report 2014, there were approximately 500m mobile subscriptions to LTE, while this number is expected to globally increase to 3.1bn by 2020.
The number of mobile subscriptions is globally growing rapidly, increasing by 6.9bn in Q3 2014 alone, of which 375m can be attributed to the Middle East, according to the Mobility Report.
“One of the main reasons for the raid growth in smart phone subscriptions is that subscribers in the Middle East and Africa are exchanging their basic phones to smart phones due to lower coast of smart phones,” Saadi said.
He further added that with this rapid growth of LTE, it is predicted that 85% of Middle East and Africa will be 3G/4G by 2020. Saadi also said that LTE provides an increasing number of mobile applications, including social media apps, search engines, presence applications and content-sharing sites
While 3G is still dominant within the network space, it is being used in conjunction with 4G (LTE) by most operators in the region, Saadi added, noting that consumers appreciate the benefits of 3G and LTE networks.
“With increased mobility comes increased data use, and uninterrupted service becomes more important than ever, to the end user, who will no longer wait for a WIFI connection and generally connects through mobile data,” Saadi signaled.