More Industry InsightsSub-Saharan Africa is adopting 5G faster than experts predicted

September 20, 2022by myles0

The digital transformation somewhat neglected in Africa in the past has proven necessary for socio-economic growth since 2020. Many countries are already taking the necessary measures and ultra-broadband is flourishing more quickly than expected across the continent.

In sub-Saharan Africa, the adoption of 5G has grown rapidly since 2018. Data compiled by Agence Ecofin indicate that as of September 15, 2022, twelve telecom operators in ten markets are already marketing mobile services backed by ultra-high-speed technology. Data increasingly contradict the forecasts of timid adoption of 5G by sub-Saharan Africa, mentioned by several equipment manufacturers and specialized firms.

Telecom operators who have already launched 5G in Africa

The World Association of Telephone Operators (GSMA) estimated in 2021 that the volume of 5G connections would reach 35 million by 2025. That is 3% of the total number of mobile connections in the region where seven telecom operators in five markets were already marketing their ultra-broadband services. In January 2022, it revised its estimate to 38 million 5G connections in its The Mobile Economy 2022 report . Or 4% of the total number of mobile connections in sub-Saharan Africa.

But 5G is attracting more and more people. To the twelve telecom operators who already market ultra-high speed, it is very likely that new ones will be added by the end of the year. In Mauritius, for example, Emtel Ltd and Mahanagar Telephone Mauritius Ltd (MTML) which also obtained a 5G license in June 2021 have not yet launched the service. Ditto for Mafab in Nigeria.

1 adopted

Several new telecom operators are expected to enter the 5G segment in eleven other markets where the technology has already been tested over the past four years. This is the case in Côte d’Ivoire where Orange and MTN have proven themselves. In Mali it was Orange, in Madagascar it was the case with Telma.

If one thing is certain, and which should not stray from the forecasts of observers of the global telecom market, it is the increase in mobile data traffic caused by the growing demand for connectivity. Ericsson claims in its June 2022 Mobility Report that average data traffic per smartphone is expected to grow from 2.9 Gigabytes per month to 11 Gigabytes by 2027.

Source: Ericsson

Although the price of a 5G-enabled smartphone is still quite high and may raise doubts about the appropriation of mobile ultra-broadband in sub-Saharan Africa, International Data Corporation (IDC) seems rather optimistic. George Mbuthia, senior research analyst with the American firm, explains that “  the slow development of 5G network infrastructure across Africa has not slowed adoption since 5G devices can also be used on 4G networks. , more readily available  .

IDC reports that in Sub-Saharan Africa, in Q2 2022, “  5G device shipments grew 26.9% QoQ in Q2 2022 and their share of the overall market is growing as major brands launch more devices. ‘flagship 5G devices on the market  ‘.

4G devices accounted for 73.9% of overall smartphone shipments in Africa in the second quarter of 2022, with 3G and 5G accounting for shares of 18.5% and 7.6%, respectively, according to IDC.

Source: Agence Ecofin

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