Vodacom and MTN unveiled their first big 5G networks in Sub-Saharan Africa in 2020, the Global Framework for Mobile Communications (GSMA) 2020 report revealed.
In many locations across South Africa, the telecoms operators provided 5G mobile and fixed wireless access (FWA) services, which seems to be a welcome improvement, as, in the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic, the South African government had already allocated temporary spectrum in the 3.5 GHz range.
Obviously, using FWA to fill the gap in fixed broadband access for homes and businesses is the next opportunity to be exploited for 5G in South Africa.
According to the report, 5G test runs have been performed in almost all Sub-Saharan African countries, including Gabon, Kenya, Nigeria, and Uganda, but there is still no guarantee of the mass rollout of the 5G network, as there are large levels of unused 4G bandwidth. The 4G penetration rate is still relatively poor, presenting operators with opportunities to raise their 4G stakes.
The collaboration between Safaricom and Google to fund the purchase of 4G smartphones provides the required momentum as low-income customers pay for 4G devices in convenient and flexible daily installments as a boost to mop up the unused 4G capacity.
According to the study, the number of smartphone connections in Sub-Saharan Africa is projected to nearly double over the next five years to hit 678 million by the end of 2025, an adoption rate of 65 percent.
Vodacom and Mtn 5G Plans What you should know
- It is expected that by 2025, there will be a little below 30 million mobile 5G connections in Sub-Saharan Africa, equivalent to almost 3% of total mobile connections.
- The mobile market in the region will reach several important milestones over the next five years: half a billion mobile subscribers in 2021, 1 billion mobile connections in 2024, and 50% subscriber penetration by 2025.
- The achievement of these critical milestones would be predicated on the operators’ commitment to providing reliable infrastructural networks across the region.
- Between 2019 and 2025, the operators in the region would have expended/invested in the sum of $52billion in infrastructure rollouts.
- The GSMA represents the interests of mobile operators worldwide, uniting more than 750 operators with almost 400 companies in the broader mobile ecosystem, including handset and device makers, software companies, equipment providers and internet companies, as well as organizations in adjacent industry sectors.