The 2020 report of the Global System for Mobile Communication (GSMA) shows that Vodacom and MTN successfully launched and tested their first 5G networks in Sub-Saharan Africa countries in 2020.
These telecommunication operators tested 5G mobile in several locations across Africa which included, Kenya, Gabon, Nigeria and Uganda. They also offered fixed wireless access (FWA) in these countries which is a good development.
Most Africa countries had already assigned temporary spectrum in the range of 3.5 GhHz in the wake of the Corona virus pandemic. Egypt was among the first to actually do so in early 2020.
In South Africa for example, the plan is to use FWA to bridge the gap in fixed broadband connectivity for homes, businesses and corporate bodies.
As per the report from GSMA, there has been 5G network trials in almost all the countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, including Gabon, Kenya, Nigeria and Uganda but the possibility of mass deployment of the 5G network is still not guaranteed, as there are significant levels of unused 4G network capacity.
Also, the 4G adoption rate is still relatively low, creating opportunities for the operators to increase their stakes in 4G.
To make 4G phones more affordable, Safaricom and Google teamed up to finance the acquisition of 4G smartphones. This move a step in the right direction as entry and low budget phones can now have 4G network. Low income earners can now pay for 4G phones without having to cut deep into their savings.
The report further went to predict that over the next five years, the number of phones connections in the Sub-Saharan Africa will almost double to reach about 678 million by the end of 2025 – which is an adoption rate of 65%.
Summary of 5G Network Update in Africa
- Prediction suggest that by 2025, there is going to be about 30 million phones with 5G network connectivity in the Sub-Saharan Africa. And this equals about 3% of total phone connections (edge, 2G, 3G and 4G).
- Within the next five yeara in Africa, the phone market is expected to reach several important milestone: more phone users, half a billion phone subscribers by the end of 2021, 1 billion phone connections by the end of 2024, and about 50% phone subscribers by the end of 2025.
- Telecommunications companies and network providers are to increase infrastructure to meet growing network technologies.
- An estimated $53 billion to be spend in infrastructure by network operators between 2019 and 2025 in the Sub-Saharan Africa region.
- GSMA represents the interest of mobile operators around the globe. They are uniting more than 750 operators with about 400 companies in the broader mobile ecosystem which includes handset and device makers, software companies, equipment providers and internet companies, as well as organizations closely related to technology industry.
You can download the full GSMA report from here. What do you think about 5G network? Tell us via your comment below.