A 5G sign is seen inside the Xiaomi booth at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona

CAPE TOWN - Telecommunications giant Ericsson revealed in its latest Mobility Report (PDF) that an estimated 30 million 5G subscriptions will be reached for the Middle East and Africa (MEA) by 2024.

Rafiah Ibrahim, Head of Ericsson Middle East and Africa, said in a statement: “With connectivity at the heart of industry transformation, cellular technologies have a significant role to play – not just in the evolution of communication but in the transformation of businesses and societies¨

¨As 5G now hits the market, its coverage build-out and uptake in subscriptions is expected to be faster than for previous generations. At the same time, cellular IoT continues to grow strongly. As networks mature and ecosystems evolve, service providers need to become increasingly agile to achieve the goal of profitable growth.”

According to the report, it would make up 2 percent of total mobile subscriptions, and would, in turn, make 5G the fastest generation of mobile technology to roll out on a global scale.

Ericsson said in the report: ¨The majority of the 5G subscriptions in the MEA are expected to come from advanced ICT markets like the GCC countries Saudi Arabia, UAE and Qatar while in Africa, considerable momentum is building up in South Africa.¨

According to the report, 5G promises numerous opportunities besides enhanced mobile broadband, such as:

  • Fixed Wireless Access (FWA)
  • VR, AR and advanced media services
  • Safety and security
  • Industrial automation


“In Sub-Saharan Africa, gross domestic product (GDP) growth is expected to show an upward trend, supported by rising commodity prices and improvement of the investment environment in large economies such as Nigeria and South Africa, "Ericsson said in the report.

The report further stated that continued economic growth in the region, coupled with a young population, favourable policies and lower cost devices will drive investment in the telecoms sector, increasing uptake of ICT services.

“The first wave of 5G introduction in the Middle East and Africa targets the FWA segment where operators utilise it as an alternative to fibre, with quick time to market, as well as being an additional revenue stream,” said Ericsson.

Ericsson further noted that for 5G to be deployed on a large-scale rollout and to achieve long-term success, two main areas need to be addressed, namely spectrum availability and use case development.

BUSINESS REPORT ONLINE