Nigeria, Kenya, and South Africa will lead Sub-Saharan Africa’s 5G adoption, according to Ericsson.
In its ‘Mobility Report (November 2022)’, the firm stated that despite being in its early stage on the continent, the region’s 5G adoption was being led by Nigeria, Kenya, and South Africa.
It said, “Despite its early stage, the 5G journey has begun in Sub-Saharan Africa in the more mature markets such as South Africa, Nigeria and Kenya. 5G subscriptions are projected to constitute around 14 per cent of all mobile subscriptions by the end of 2028.”
According to the firm, despite economic challenges, the region’s economy was projected to be one of the fastest growing regions globally and sustaining growth in the telecom industry. It further added that telecommunication firms were now focusing on increasing coverage and capacity in the region.
It said, “With the COVID-19 pandemic becoming a lesser concern, network investments are shifting focus from reliable connectivity for social and economic sustenance to increase coverage and capacity, especially for mobile broadband connections. 2G connections are still accounting for about half of the total subscriptions but these are projected to decline as service providers migrate subscribers from legacy to 4G and 5G networks.
“4G will be the main contributor to new connections up to 2028, accounting for more than half of all mobile subscriptions at that time.”
Speaking about the growth of 5G, Ericsson revealed that 5G subscriptions are expected to hit one billion by the end of 2022 with more smart 5G devices getting launched by 2023. It stated that by 2028, 5G subscriptions will pass 5 billion.
It stated, “5G subscriptions grew by 110 million during the third quarter to around 870 million, and that number is expected to reach one billion. 5G will become the dominant mobile access technology by subscriptions in 2027.”
The firm further disclosed that subscriptions for 4G continue to increase, growing by 41 million during the third quarter of 2022 to around 5 billion.
It said, “4G subscriptions are projected to peak at 5.2 billion by the end of 2022, then decline to around 3.6 billion by the end of 2028 as subscribers migrate to 5G. During the quarter, 3G subscriptions declined by 41 million, while GSM/EDGE-only subscriptions dropped by 44 million and other technologies decreased by about 6 million.
“During the quarter, China had the most net additions (+15 million), followed by Nigeria (+5 million) and Indonesia (+4 million).”
In 2021, the Nigerian Communications Commission launched 5G and auctioned its first two lots of 100 MHz TDD slots of the 3.5 GHz band for the deployment of 5G in the nation. MTN Nigeria Communications Plc and Mafab Nigeria Communications Limited won the auction.
In 2022, MTN rolled out its 5G network in seven cities, while Mafab has yet to do so. To increase the number of firms offering 5G services, the NCC announced an auction for two more 5G licences. However, only Airtel was able to meet the commission’s criteria, to which it said, “Having met all the provisions in the IM, Airtel has, therefore, emerged as the sole bidder.