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Nigeria, others’ 5G adoption to reach 17% by 2030 — GSMA

Nigeria, others’ 5G adoption to reach 17% by 2030 — GSMA

Nigeria and other Sub-Sahara countries’ fifth generation (5G) network adoption is expected to reach 17 percent by 2030, GSMA has disclosed.

This growth in 5G adoption rate from one percent in 2023 to 17 percent by 2030 is expected to account for 234 million connections. In its ‘The Mobile Economy Sub-Saharan Africa (2024)’ report, the global body for telcos noted that 5G growth in the region will be slow but steady as a larger share of the customer base will continue to migrate and use 4G.

“The number of connections on 2G and 3G will continue to decline in the coming years as users migrate to 4G and 5G, leading to an increasing number of networks,” it said.

According to GSMA Intelligence, 143 networks in Sub-Sahara Africa on 2G and 3G are scheduled to be retired between 2023 and 2030, with around 50 percent planned by the end of 2024.

“While 5G’s momentum continues to grow, the initial focus for 5G deployment is on the mobile industry increasingly moving to the 5G standalone and 5G-Advanced standard to unlock innovative 5G use cases and create opportunities to enable enhanced functionality for the enterprise market,” it added.

GSMA highlighted that mobile Internet penetration underscores the urgency of addressing the primary barriers to adoption: affordability (particularly of handsets) and literacy/digital skills.

“The number of unique mobile subscribers in Sub-Saharan Africa is expected to hit 700 million by the end of 2030, with Nigeria and Ethiopia accounting for almost a third of total subscribers in the region. Mobile penetration also hit 50 percent in that period, still below the global average of 73 percent by the same year, ” it said.

Telecoms networks have driven voice and data connectivity to current levels (over 4.7 billion mobile internet subscribers globally), supported by the wide area coverage of wireless networks and the mass production and adoption of mobile devices, GSMA revealed.

The body further stated that mobile operators are forming partnerships with cloud providers and telecom vendors to leverage new AI capabilities, with both open-source and proprietary approaches to AI development under consideration.

“The mobile industry is committed to the ethical use of AI in its operations and customer interactions to protect customers and employees, remove any entrenched inequality and ensure that AI operates reliably and fairly for all stakeholders,” Mats Granryd, the Director General of the GSMA, said.

In ‘The Mobile Economy Sub-Saharan Africa (2023)’ report, GSMA noted that 4G will continue to be the primary network on the continent, with 5G recording a slow but steady growth.