GSMA backs youth to fuel Africa connectivity leap - Mobile World Live

GSMA backs youth to fuel Africa connectivity leap

16 JUL 2019

LIVE FROM MOBILE 360 – AFRICA, KIGALI, RWANDA: Industry group GSMA cited the emergence of a generation of digital-first citizens alongside rapid mobile service uptake in Ethiopia and Nigeria as key factors in propelling continued industry growth in sub-Saharan Africa.

In its 2019 Mobile Economy Report for the region, the group forecast 160 million new unique subscribers would be recruited before 2025, compared with the end of 2018. This would take its number of unique mobile users to 623 million.

These numbers would put the sub-Saharan Africa in line to meet the prediction of 1 billion connections, including cellular IoT, by 2025 and other forecasts set out by the organisation in its 2018 report.

The study also illustrates the industry’s value to wider economic growth. It found the mobile ecosystem contributed $150 billion in 2018 (8.6 per cent of sub-Saharan Africa’s GDP). This proportion is expected to increase to 9.1 per cent in 2023, with a total of $186 billion set to be generated.

GSMA head of sub-Saharan Africa Akinwale Goodluck said: “A new generation of youthful ‘digital natives’ across sub-Saharan Africa are set to fuel customer growth and drive adoption of new mobile services that are empowering lives and transforming businesses”.

Generational changes
During 2019, GSMA expects 3G to overtake 2G to become the leading mobile technology in the region. While 4G still suffers from low availability in several markets, hampered by spectrum issues and muted consumer uptake due to relatively high device costs, GSMA experts believe the network technology will come to account for 66 per cent of connections by 2025.

To help support this change, between the 2018 and 2025 the region’s mobile operators are expected to make a total of $60 billion in capex investments. A fifth of this is likely to be on infrastructure able to support 5G.

Other findings in the wide-ranging report include, as of the end of 2018, 23 per cent of the region’s population used mobile internet services on a regular basis, while around 39 per cent of subscribers in the region used smartphones.



Chris Donkin

Chris joined the Mobile World Live team in November 2016 having previously worked at a number of UK media outlets including Trinity Mirror, The Press Association and UK telecoms publication Mobile News. After spending 10 years in journalism, he moved...

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