Telecommunications operators in Africa and the Middle East are expected to add 7.58 million subscribers in 2021 due to advancing 5G network coverage.
According to a study by GlobalData, the growth in 5G subscriptions will be supported by increased investment in network coverage and 5G launches in countries like Iran and Kenya.
The report said the total number of 5G subscribers in Africa and the Middle East will reach 10.4 million by the end of 2021, with the majority of 5G networks being in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries Israel and South Africa.
It added that with the advancements of the 5G network rollouts, telecom operators in the MEA region are adopting strategies to attract 5G subscribers with data-centric plans and value-added services.
Madison Galati, Telecoms Market Data and Intelligence analyst said, “5G connectivity in Africa and the Middle East is predominantly centred around the GCC countries, with operators in countries like Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia having launched their 5G networks. These countries have some of the highest purchasing power parity (PPP)-Adjusted GDP (Gross Domestic Product) per capita and unique mobile user penetration in the region, supporting the investment in launching and expanding 5G networks as well as 5G adoption.”
In Africa, Kenya’s Safaricom launched 5G trials for both retail and enterprise customers in March this year and said it intends to expand the trial to 150 sites across nine towns in the country by March next year.
The company said it wants to attract more 5G customers to its network in areas where it is yet to roll out fibre because 5G technology can easily act as an alternative to Fibre-to-the-Home (FTTH) and Fibre for Business services.
According to statistics from the Communications Authority of Kenya (CAK), Safaricom leads Kenya’s mobile data market with 67.5% of the total users as of September 2020, followed by Airtel Kenya and Telkom Kenya.