Number of mobile broadband connections set to double over next five years

africa connectivity communications africaData from Ovum shows Africa’s current connectivity situation and what this will look like in the future. (Photo: Ovum)Mobile data is expected to be the biggest growth driver 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 Ovum’s new Forecaster data service

Ovum expects Africa’s first 5G services to launch in 2021, but initial take-up is only expected to see one billion 5G subscriptions on the continent at end-2022.

The rise in data connectivity in Africa over many years has brought with it rising data revenues for operators, and is creating a platform for new, digital services. Facebook announced earlier this year that it had 170mn 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.”

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