The latest mobility report from a global technology provider, Ericson, has projected rapid growth in 5G in sub-Saharan Africa, with Nigeria and South Africa leading the way.
According to the report, the two countries will boost the continent’s 5G connections from 7 million to 150 million by 2028.
The continent’s two largest economies are also expected to benefit immensely from the technology, which the report says will boost smart industries and agriculture.
- According to the report, 4G subscriptions are expected to grow further during the same period from 260 million in 2022 to 600 million in 2028.
- While noting that 2G connections still make up about half of total mobile subscriptions in SSA, Ericsson said the number of people on 2G will drop significantly over the next 6 years as subscribers migrate to 4G and 5G networks.
the role of nigeria: In addition to having the largest economy in Africa, Nigeria, with a population of over 200 million, currently has the largest mobile subscriptions on the continent and is expected to lead with 5G. Last year, the country had already issued 5G licenses to two telcos, MTN and Mafab Communications.
- While MTN has since rolled out the first 5G network in the country, Mafab is expected to roll out the network in January next year. Just yesterday, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) confirmed Airtel as the sole bidder for another 5G license, making it three operators.
- Note that South Africa was the first African country to roll out 5G in 2020. Three major operators, MTN, Vodacom, and Rain, have rolled out 5G networks in the country.
why does it matter: Commenting on the report, Ericsson Middle East and Africa Vice President and Head of Global Customer Unit Hossam Kandeel said:
- “Connectivity in Africa plays a fundamental role in improving the continental economy. The growth of 5G and 4G network coverage will become a major catalyst for innovation, connection and opportunity for Africans everywhere. We are proud to be a part of this journey.”
Overall, the report projects that 5G subscriptions remain on track to surpass 1 billion by the end of this year and 5 billion by the end of 2028, despite ongoing and developing economic challenges in many parts of the world. It adds that around 110 million 5G subscriptions were added globally between July and September 2022, bringing the total to around 870 million.
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