Capex of mobile operators in sub-Saharan Africa will be $15.2 billion for the period 2019–2020, according to the latest GSMA report.
Mobile operators in sub-Saharan Africa are increasing investment in their networks and are expected to spend $60 billion on network infrastructure and services between 2018 and 2025.
Telecoms will be investing $11 billion, almost a fifth of the total Capex — in 5G networks between 2018 and 2025, the report said.
The number of 5G connections will reach 28 million representing three percent of total connections in 2025. 4G connections will account for 23 percent of total connections in 2025, GSMA said.
Telecom service providers will be adding more than 160 million unique mobile subscribers in sub-Saharan Africa by 2025, bringing the total to 623 million from 456 million in 2018. Subscriber additions will be concentrated in high-growth markets such as Nigeria and Ethiopia, the report says.
“With mobile technology at the heart of Sub-Saharan Africa’s digital journey, it is essential for policymakers in the region to implement policies and best practices that ensure sustainable growth in the mobile industry, and enable the transition to next-generation mobile networks,” said Akinwale Goodluck, head of Sub-Saharan Africa, GSMA.
The mobile ecosystem across Sub-Saharan Africa generated almost $150 billion in economic value last year – equivalent to 8.6 percent of the region’s GDP. It is forecast to generate almost $185 billion (9.1 percent of GDP) by 2023.
Around 239 million people, equivalent to 23 per cent of the region’s population, use the mobile internet on a regular basis.
Smartphones accounted for 39 percent of mobile connections in Sub-Saharan Africa in 2018, forecast to increase to two thirds of connections by 2025.
3G will overtake 2G to become the leading mobile technology in Sub-Saharan Africa this year.
4G will account for almost one in four connections by 2025. Seven LTE networks have been launched in the region since the start of 2019, including in Ghana and Burkina Faso.
4G uptake will be slow in some markets because of the high cost of 4G devices and delays in assigning 4G spectrum. Sub-Saharan Africa lags other regions in 4G adoption. By the end of 2018, 4G accounted for 7 percent of total connections, compared to the global average of 44 percent.
Across the wider Sub-Saharan Africa region, mobile data usage will grow four-fold by 2024, GSMA said. Over 800 million people across Sub-Saharan Africa don’t use the mobile internet. By 2025, 483 million people in Sub-Saharan Africa (nearly 40 percent of the population) will be mobile internet subscribers.
Sub-Saharan Africa’s mobile ecosystem supports around 3.5 million jobs, and last year contributed almost $15.6 billion to the funding of the public sector through consumer and operator taxes.
GSMA said Airtel and MTN will commence a program of activity around digital inclusion as part of the GSMA’s We Care initiative in Rwanda.