African mobile broadband connections to double within five years

Nov 7, 2017 | South Africa

Mobile data will be the main driver of growth in the African telecoms market, with the number of mobile broadband connections on the continent set to more than double over the coming five years, according to new research.

The research, from Ovum’s new Forecaster data service, found broadband connections will and rise from 419 million at end-2017, to 1.07 billion at end-2022.

The growth of mobile broadband in Africa will be facilitated by the further roll-out of 3G W-CDMA and 4G LTE networks, and the increasing affordability of smartphones. In 2019, W-CDMA will become Africa’s biggest mobile technology by subscriptions, and there will be 858 million W-CDMA connections on the continent by end-2022, Ovum forecasts. There will also be 210 million LTE subscriptions in Africa at end-2022.

Ovum expects Africa’s first 5G services to launch in 2021, but initial take-up will be modest, with fewer than 1 million 5G subscriptions on the continent at end-2022.

Click here for an enlarged view of Ovum’s Africa connectivity forecast infographic

Africa mobile subscriptions forecast by technology, 2017-22

Source: Ovum

The increase in data connectivity in Africa is accompanied by rising data revenues for operators, and is creating a platform for new, digital services. But it is also shaking up Africa’s telecoms, media and technology (TMT) market. Facebook said earlier this year that it had 170 million active users in Africa, which means it has more customers on the continent than Africa’s biggest telecoms operator, MTN Group, which had 165 million mobile subscriptions in Africa at end-1H17.

“Data connectivity is growing strongly in Africa, and there are also good prospects on the continent in areas such as digital media, mobile financial services, and the Internet of Things,” said Matthew Reed, Practice Leader Middle East and Africa at Ovum. “But as Africa’s TMT market becomes more convergent and complex, service providers are under increasing pressure to make the transition from being providers of communications services, and to become providers of digital services.”

Note: Mobile broadband connections are those based on 3G and more advanced technology standards.

Further market trends across Africa are explored in Ovum’s new report Africa Market Outlook, which is available here.

The Ovum team attending AfricaCom 2017 will be chairing and moderating several conference sessions over the three days and include:

  • Matthew Reed, Practice Leader, Middle East and Africa, will be presenting in the LeadersIn Africa Summit Summit on November 7th.
  • Thecla Mbongue, Senior Analyst, who will be chairing in the Mobile Finance & Commerce conference stream on November 7th, and in the LTE Africa stream on November 8th.
  • Mark Oliver, Head of Consulting EMEA, will be moderating in the LeadersIn Africa Summit on November 7th.
  • Matthew Pougher, Director of Business Development, will be demonstrating Ovum Forecaster at the Ovum booth at stand number H7C, and on the Innovation Stage.
  • Grant Watson, Sales Director for Africa, will be at the Ovum booth at stand number H7C.

Please do reach out to the Ovum team for more information about Ovum’s research, data and consulting services, including Forecaster.

All topics

Previous editions

Get email edition

Share This