Ericsson’s Report Forecasts Robust Telecom Growth in Sub-Saharan Africa

Sub-Saharan Africa anticipates 4% economic growth, 9% surge in 4G subscriptions, and strategic 5G investments.

Ericsson’s latest Mobility Report highlights Sub-Saharan Africa’s robust economic growth, projecting a 4% increase. The region anticipates a 3% YoY rise in mobile subscriptions for the next six years, emphasizing a 9% surge in 4G subscriptions. This growth is attributed to increased smartphone adoption, particularly affordable devices, leading to a substantial rise in data consumption.

The report underscores significant opportunities for service providers in Sub-Saharan Africa, fueled by supportive regulations and substantial investments from local and international telecom companies. The region’s commitment to network infrastructure investments, driven by its youthful population and growing demand for enhanced connectivity, is evident.

The shift toward 4G networks dominates Sub-Saharan Africa’s telecom landscape, with expectations that 4G subscriptions will represent half of all mobile subscriptions by the end of 2029. This transition marks a pivotal moment, reshaping how communities engage with digital services for education, commerce, healthcare, and social interactions.

Strategic 5G investments are underway, supported by spectrum releases in low- and mid-bands. While the majority of subscribers will remain on 4G for several years, more than a dozen countries, mainly in Eastern and Southern Africa, already offer 5G services. Spectrum deployment and the challenge of urban areas reaching maximum capacity are highlighted, emphasizing the need for additional spectrum or densified network coverage.

The report addresses the digital divide in rural Africa, where low Average Revenue Per User (ARPU) poses challenges for profitable macro sites. Innovative solutions, such as tailored radio and transmission optimized for rural sites, along with Fixed Wireless Access (FWA), play a crucial role. FWA emerges as a cost-effective technology to bridge the digital gap, with several key African markets already launching 5G FWA services.

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