Sub-Saharan Africa to Have Around 70 million 5G Subscriptions by 2026: Ericsson Mobility Report

Ericsson has forcasted the future of 5G in Sub-Sahran Africa in their two new reports, The Ericsson Mobility report and The Future of Urban Reality Report.

Ericsson recently unveiled two reports:  The 20th edition of the Ericsson Mobility report and “The Future of Urban Reality Report” that together, forecast the future of 5G in Sub-Saharan Africa and around the world in addition to forecasting the post-pandemic world.

Both reports reveal data that confirm the acceleration of mobile connectivity and digitalization in Nigeria, the country with the third-highest mobile subscriptions additions in Q1 2021 globally according to the latest Ericsson Mobility Report.

Ericsson projects that 5G mobile subscriptions will exceed 580 million by the end of 2021, driven by an estimated one million new 5G mobile subscriptions every day. The forecast, which features in the latest Ericsson Mobility Report, confirms the expectation that 5G will become the fastest adopted mobile generation. 5G is expected to surpass a billion subscriptions two years ahead of the 4G LTE timeline for the same milestone.

The report features breakout statistics from Sub-Saharan African markets where around 15 percent of mobile subscriptions were for 4G at the end of 2020. The net addition of mobile subscriptions was quite low during Q1 2021, at 59 million. This is likely due to the pandemic and associated lockdown restrictions. India had the most net additions (+26 million), followed by China (+6 million) and Nigeria (+3 million). Mobile broadband subscriptions in Sub-Saharan Africa are predicted to increase, reaching 76 percent of mobile subscriptions by 2026. However, 5G volumes are not expected to grow in the region for 2021 but are likely to reach around 70 million 5G subscriptions in 2026.

Separately, the Global Telecom Market Report (GTM) also known as “The Future of Urban Reality Report” was also recently launched by the Ericsson ConsumerLab, to assess the penetration of 5G and the tremendous potential it holds to markets around the world.

The latest Ericsson ConsumerLab report is Ericsson’s largest consumer study to date, revealing key insights about what Nigerian consumers believe will happen beyond the pandemic, into the year 2025, through surveying a sample of 1,000 to 2,000 respondents between the ages of 15–79.

The report found that when entering the “next to normal”, consumers in Africa will have added an average of 3.4 online services to their daily online activities, while also increasing the time they spend online by 10 hours per week by 2025, in comparison to their pre-pandemic habits.

This move is also expected to bridge the gap between moderate and advanced online users, with the more moderate online users having introduced more online services in their daily life over the course of the pandemic.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the implementation of online education at schools and universities as well as remote working in Nigeria has increased to 72 percent and 62 percent respectively. Going forward online education and remote working are collectively expected to remain at a level of 29 percent.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, the amount of online shopping in Nigeria stood at 35 percent out of the total number of all shopping events, both online and at physical stores. During the COVID-19  pandemic, this figure increased to 51 percent. Nigerian consumers anticipate their habits around online shopping will remain at a level of 44 percent after the COVID-19 pandemic has passed.

“Positioned as the third-highest mobile subscriptions additions in Q1 2021 globally, Nigeria is growing tremendously setting #AfricaInMotion. The growth can be attributed to the young, growing population, the increasing digital skills, and the more affordable smartphones. Correspondingly, this growth is reflected in the online habits of the country where the dependency on online activities for daily tasks is expected to remain high in the future.”

Sean Cryan, Country Manager, Ericsson Nigeria

Ericsson has found that despite the uncertainty caused by COVID-19, service providers continue to switch on 5G, and more than 160 service providers have launched commercial 5G services.  

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