Ericsson Mobility Report: Sub-Saharan Africa Countries’ 5G subscriptions will reach 150 million by 2028

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5G continues to scale faster than any previous mobile generation
5G mobile subscriptions in Sub-Saharan Africa are expected to reach 150 million by the end of 2028
Fixed Wireless Access forecast increased and now estimated to top 300 million connections within six years
The November 2022 edition of the Ericsson (NASDAQ: ERIC) Mobility Report projects that 5G subscriptions in Sub-Saharan Africa will grow from 7 million in 2022 to 150 million by the end of 2028, accounting for 14 percent of total connections at that time.

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In Sub-Saharan Africa, 2G connections still constitute about half of the total mobile subscriptions. These are projected to decline as subscribers are migrated to 4G and 5G networks. 4G will be the main contributor to new connections up to 2028, accounting for more than half of all mobile subscriptions at that time. Currently, 4G represents 29 percent of mobile subscriptions in SSA with 4G subscriptions expected to rise from 260 million in 2022 to 600 million in 2028. The monthly data traffic per smartphone in Sub-Saharan Africa will increase by 26% from 4.6 GB per month in 2022 to 18 GB per month in 2028.

Hossam Kandeel, Vice President and Head of Global Customer Unit MTN and Customer Unit MTN Africa at Ericsson Middle East and Africa, says: “Connectivity in Africa plays a critical role in the upliftment of the continental economy. The growth in 5G and 4G network coverage will become a major catalyst for innovation, connection, and opportunity for Africans everywhere. We are proud to be a part of this journey.”

Global 5G subscriptions remain on track to top one billion by the end of this year, and five billion by the end of 2028, despite current and developing economic challenges in many parts of the world. On 5G itself, about 110 million subscriptions were added globally between July-September 2022, bringing the total to about 870 million. As forecast in previous reports, 5G is still expected to reach one billion subscriptions by the end of this year – two years faster than 4G did, following its launch. The statistic reinforces 5G as the fastest-scaling mobile connectivity generation.

By the end of 2028, five billion 5G subscriptions are forecast globally, accounting for 55 percent of all subscriptions. In that same timeframe, 5G population coverage is projected to reach 85 percent while 5G networks are expected to carry around 70 percent of mobile traffic and account for all contemporary traffic growth.

The report also forecasts global fixed wireless access (FWA) connections to grow faster than previously expected. FWA – the wireless alternative to wireline broadband connectivity for homes and businesses – is one of the major early 5G use cases, particularly in regions with unserved or underserved broadband markets. FWA is forecast to grow at 19 percent year-on-year through 2022-28, and top 300 million connections by the end of 2028.

Overall mobile subscriptions are expected to top 8.4 billion by the end of 2022, and 9.2 billion by the end of 2028. Most subscriptions are associated with smartphones. At the end of 2022, 6.6 billion smartphone subscriptions are estimated, accounting for about 79 percent of all mobile phone subscriptions.

The latest report also highlights the importance of reducing environmental impact. The telecommunications sector has a key role to play in addressing global sustainability goals, both by reducing its own emissions and through its potential to reduce carbon emissions across other industries.

To reduce the environmental impact, the growing data traffic needs to be managed with smart network modernization combined with a balanced approach to network performance.

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