5G subscriptions to hit 150m in sub-Saharan Africa, says Report

Fifth Generation (5G) subscriptions have been projected to hit 150 million in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) by the end of 2028.

There are about seven million subscribers in the region, according to a report by Ericsson, a Swedish multinational telecommunications company.

Ericsson presented its projection yesterday during a webinar organised to discuss its latest 2022 edition of the Mobility Report.

The Ericsson Mobility Report is an industry-leading publication on mobile data traffic, providing in-depth measurements from live networks spread around the globe.

The Mobility Report said that 2G connections still constituted about half of the total mobile subscriptions in SSA, but projected to decline as subscribers were migrating to 4G and 5G networks.

Also, it said 4G would be the main contributor to new connections up to 2028, accounting for more than half of all mobile subscriptions at that time.

Currently, 4G represents 29% of mobile subscriptions in SSA with 4G subscriptions expected to rise from 260 million in 2022 to 600 million in 2028.

The report said further that the monthly data traffic per smartphone in SSA will increase by 26% from 4.6 GB per month in 2022 to 18 GB per month in 2028.

Vice President and Head, Global Customer Unit MTN, and Customer Unit MTN Africa at Ericsson Middle East and Africa, Hossam Kandeel, said: “Connectivity in Africa plays a critical role in the upliftment of the continental economy.

“The growth in 5G and 4G networks coverage will become a major catalyst for innovation, connection, and opportunity for Africans everywhere. We are proud to be a part of this journey.”

The telecommunications sector has a key role to play in addressing global sustainability goals, both by reducing its own emissions and through its potential to reduce carbon emissions across other industries.

5G subscriptions

The Mobility Report projects that global 5G subscriptions remain on track to top one billion by the end of this year, and five billion by 2028, despite the current and developing economic challenges in many parts of the world.

It said about 110 million subscriptions were added globally between July and September, bringing the total to about 870 million.

Ericsson noted that as forecast in previous reports, 5G is still expected to reach one billion subscriptions by the end of this year; two years faster than 4G did, following its launch.

Statistics reinforces 5G as the fastest-scaling mobile connectivity generation, and by the end of 2028, five billion subscriptions are forecast globally, accounting for 55% of all subscriptions.

“In that same timeframe, 5G population coverage is projected to reach 85% while 5G networks are expected to carry around 70% of mobile traffic and account for all contemporary traffic growth,” it said.

The report also forecasts that global Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) connections would grow faster than previously expected.

FWA, the wireless alternative to wireline broadband connectivity for homes and businesses, is one of the major early 5G use cases, particularly in regions with unserved or underserved broadband markets.

According to Ericsson, FWA is forecast to grow at 19% year-on-year through 2022 to 2028, and top 300 million connections by the end of 2028.

Overall mobile subscriptions are expected to top 8.4 billion by the end of 2022, and 9.2 billion by the end of 2028, most of which are associated with smartphones.

Also, by this year-end, 6.6 billion smartphone subscriptions are projected, accounting for about 79% of all mobile phone subscriptions.

The latest report also highlights the importance of reducing environmental impact.

It said the telecommunications sector has a key role to play in addressing global sustainability goals, both by reducing its own emissions and through its potential to reduce carbon emissions across other industries.

Ericsson noted that to reduce the environmental impact, the growing data traffic needs to be managed with smart network modernisation combined with a balanced approach to network performance. (NAN)

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