- The Mobile Economy Sub-Saharan Africa 2022 report by GMSA has revealed that 214 mobile operators in 81 markets globally had launched commercial 5G services in September 2022
- 5G now accounts for nearly half of all mobile connections in South Korea while the network makes up a third of all connections in the US
- The adoption of 5G in Sub-Saharan Africa is, however, not as quick with full commercial 5G services only available in fewer than five countries across the region as of September 2022
A new report now shows that 214 mobile operators in 81 markets globally had launched commercial 5G services as of September 2022.
According to the Mobile Economy Sub-Saharan Africa 2022 report by GMSA, the popularity of 5G is steadily growing and becoming mainstream in pioneer markets.
The report noted that developed economies such as South Korea have witnessed high usage of the network. In fact, in the East Asia nation, 5G accounts for nearly half of all mobile connections. Across the pond in the US, 5G makes up more than a third of all mobile connections.
“Momentum has been boosted by a number of factors, including economic recovery from the pandemic, rising 5G handset sales and overall marketing efforts,” the report said.
5G Adoption in Sub-Saharan Africa
The adoption of 5G in Sub-Saharan Africa is however not as quick as it is in other parts of the world.
The report notes that as of September 2022, full commercial 5G services were only available in fewer than five countries across the region.
GMSA said that the slow adoption is in large part due to a greater emphasis by operators and other stakeholders on migrating customers on legacy networks (2G and 3G) to 4G networks.
At the end of 2021, 4G accounted for just 17% of total mobile connections in Sub-Saharan Africa, compared to the global average of 59%.
“This trend will continue in the short-to-medium term, given the opportunity to maximise the utilisation of existing 4G capacity and the cost implications of mass 5G rollouts,” the report noted.
The report, however, noted that 5G-related activities are beginning to gather pace across the region. These include 5G spectrum auctions, 5G pilots and commercial trials, and efforts to develop locally relevant 5G use cases.
“Following the huge demand for connectivity in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, there is growing interest in the role of 5G in the connectivity landscape,” the report said.
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“While the general consensus remains that mass 5G rollouts are more of a long-term prospect in Sub-Saharan Africa, there is a strong case to utilise the technology in some scenarios to serve certain connectivity requirements for individuals and enterprises,” it added.
5G Activities in Sub-Saharan Africa
Only eight countries in the Sub-Saharan region have witnessed 5G-related activities in the last year.
These include Botswana, where Mascom launched its first 5G services in the capital, Gaborone, in February 2022. In Cote d’Ivoire, MTN began trials of 5G equipment in several sites across Abidjan in December 2021. The Cote d’Ivoire government said it wants 5G networks to go live ahead of the Africa Cup of Nations football tournament, which it will host this year.
In Ethiopia, Ethio telecom launched a pre-commercial 5G network across six mobile stations in the capital city of Addis Ababa in May 2022. The operator said it planned to deploy 150 5G sites within and outside of Addis Ababa in 2023.
In Kenya, Safaricom and Nokia performed a pilot test for a 4G and 5G fixed wireless access (FWA) network, slicing on the operator’s live commercial network in August 2022. Earlier, in May 2022, the Communications Authority of Kenya allocated 60 MHz of spectrum in the 2600 MHz band to Safaricom for 5G expansion.
Other countries where there have been 5G-related activities are Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania and Zimbabwe.
Availability of 5G smartphones continues to rise
In a separate story, the presence of 5G-enabled smartphones continues to rise in Kenya.
OPPO Kenya is among the smartphone companies that are pioneering the availability of 5G devices in the East African nation. The company told The Exchange Africa exclusively that they remain committed to offering the latest technological innovation to the market.
Speaking during the launch of the company’s latest smartphone, OPPO Reno8 T, OPPO Kenya PR Manager Fredrique Achieng’ said they are increasing their market share by introducing devices that have a seamless integration of a series of upgraded technological innovations.
They are also offering diverse design ideas that involve more premium sensory experiences in their new Reno series products.
“Moving forward, OPPO will continue to evolve the unique design language of the Reno series to explore more ways in which visual design and technology can be used to enhance the full user experience,” she added.
The all-new OPPO Reno8 T will be available across all OPPO physical shops country-wide and e-commerce partner Kilimall from 1st March at a recommended retail price of KSh 49,999 for the 5G and KSh 37,999 for the 4G.