Sub-Saharan African countries are poised to latch on to the latest internet technology offered by the 5th generation networks. This is according to a new report from Ericsson stating that 5G mobile subscriptions will exceed 580 million by the end of 2021, driven by an estimated one million new 5G mobile subscriptions every day.
The forecast, which features in the latest Ericsson Mobility Report, confirms the expectation that 5G will become the fastest adopted mobile generation. 5G is expected to surpass a billion subscriptions two years ahead of the 4G LTE timeline for the same milestone. The report features breakout statistics from Sub-Saharan African markets where around 15% of mobile subscriptions were for 4G at the end of 2020.
Mobile broadband subscriptions in Sub-Saharan Africa are predicted to increase, reaching 76% of mobile subscriptions by 2026. However, 5G volumes are not expected to grow in the region for 2021 but are likely to reach around 70 million 5G subscriptions in 2026.
Separately, the Global Telecom Market Report (GTM) also known as “The Future of Urban Reality Report” was also recently launched by the Ericsson ConsumerLab, to assess the penetration of 5G and the tremendous potential it holds to markets around the world.
People in Sub-Saharan Africa Spending More Time Online
The latest Ericsson ConsumerLab report is Ericsson’s largest consumer study to date, revealing key insights about what Sub-Saharan African consumers believe will happen beyond the pandemic, into the year 2025, through surveying a sample of 1,000 to 2,000 respondents between the ages of 15–79.
The report found that when entering the “next normal”, consumers in Africa will have added an average of 3.4 online services to their daily online activities, while also increasing the time they spend online by 10 hours per week by 2025, in comparison to their pre-pandemic habits.
This move is also expected to bridge the gap between moderate and advanced online users, with the more moderate online users having introduced more online services in their daily life over the course of the pandemic.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the implementation of online education at schools and universities as well as remote working has increased to 87% and 63% respectively. Going forward online education and remote working are collectively expected to remain at a level of 51%.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, the amount of online shopping stood at 28% out of the total number of all shopping events, both online and at physical stores. During the COVID-19 pandemic, this figure increased to 47%.
Consumers anticipate their habits around online shopping will remain at a level of 37% after the COVID-19 pandemic has passed.
“The recent reports have demonstrated the success of setting #AfricaInMotion. Sub-Saharan Africa is expected to see continued growth in mobile broadband thanks to the young population, increased coverage, and more affordable smartphones,“ Todd Ashton, VP and Head of Ericsson South and East Africa says.
“By 2025, we will be looking at a new normal with online activities becoming more common daily. 4G will become more pervasive and 5G will start to grow. As a result, we will definitely see increased economic growth and acceleration in Africa’s digital inclusion.”
Ericsson has found that despite the uncertainty caused by COVID-19, service providers continue to switch on 5G, and more than 160 service providers have launched commercial 5G services.