5G hasn’t even started rolling out in many parts of the world yet but it is now said that the ultra-fast 5G technology to achieve 30 million users for improved portable broadband in the Middle East and Africa before 2024 ending and as plausible as this may sound, that’s just 2 percent of total mobile subscriptions. This was published in the latest Ericsson Mobility Report for February 2019.
The 5G subject isn’t something we hear everywhere on the continent at the moment but that’s where the world is going. Samsung’s latest phones are 5G compliant for example which means if you have a 5G connection, you would be able to use some advanced features of the phone like AR and VR.
The report recognises that not many are ready yet for 5G in the Middle East and Africa (MEA) region maybe because 4G penetration is not still where it ought to be. South Africa and Egypt both have a 4G penetration rates of 68.3 percent and 45.43 percent respectively not to say these are some of the highest figures on the continent. Maybe this is why Ericsson acknowledges that the 30 million 5G by 2024 will come from advanced markets like the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Qatar while in Africa South Africa. This may be due to investments on the part of telcos across the continent in that they haven’t seen return on 4G investments.
From a mobile data traffic perspective, the MEA is comprehensively the most astounding with multiple times growth forecast of 1.8 to 15.4 EB/month from 2018 to 2024). It’s also not all bad news as mobile subscriptions are forecast to double from 860 million in 2018 to 1.6 billion in 2024.
The main influx of 5G in the MEA focuses on the FWA portion where telcos use it as an option in contrast to fibre, with brisk time to sell, just as being an extra income stream. In any case, for the full 5G potential, vast scale rollout and to make long haul progress.
That said, economies in the Middle East and North Africa have recovered faster than some of their counterparts in more advanced economies. The region’s growth is expected to jump to 3.9 percent in 2019 even as economists think the figure should be much higher if Africa for example wants to catch up with its other counterparts. Overall the Nigerian and South African market growth can be seen as major drivers of the growing economy which can it turn improve foreign direct investments in the telecom sector. Oil prices are projected to grow further in 2019 and with relative political stability, the overall economic outlook seems promising. This year marks 20 years of uninterrupted civilian rule in Nigeria (Africa’s biggest market).
In Sub-Saharan Africa, total national output or gross domestic product (GDP) development is relied upon to demonstrate a comparative upward pattern, upheld by rising item costs among others.
Mobile operators need significant help from the government to cut sufficient spectrum for rollout and the rising demand should encourage both operators and regulators alike. If as earlier stated that mobile subscriptions are set to double to 1.63 billion by 2024, then we can expect this increased demand to culminate in faster 5G rollout post 2024. Augmented reality, Virtual reality and automation are services that are expected to be enhanced in the post 4G era even if takes many other a longer time to get there.
See the full Ericsson report below;