GSM Association, the global umbrella body of mobile network operators, has said that the manufacturing sector will benefit the most from the rollout of 5G technology by telecom operators.

The body stated this in its latest ‘Mobile Economy Sub-Saharan Africa’ report.

According to GSMA, while 5G is expected to benefit most sectors of the Sub-Saharan Africa economy, over 32% of the benefits are expected to come from the manufacturing sector

It added that this would be driven by applications such as smart factories, smart cities, and smart grids.

GSMA said 29% of the benefits will go to the services sector, while every other sector will benefit based on their ability to incorporate 5G use cases in their business.

$11 billion boost for Africa’s economy

Projecting the general impacts the technology would have on Sub-Saharan Africa’s economy over the next seven years, GSMA said:

  • “5G is expected to benefit the Sub-Saharan Africa economy by $11 billion in 2030, accounting for more than 6% of the overall economic impact of mobile. Much of the 5G benefit will materialize over the period to 2030, as some countries are in the early stages of deployment and 5G economic benefits will increase as the technology starts to achieve scale and widespread adoption.”

Nigeria, South Africa to drive 5G growth

While noting that Sub-Saharan Africa would have 226 million 5G connections in 2030, equivalent to an adoption rate of 17%, GSMA said this would be driven largely by Nigeria and South Africa.

  • “Nigeria and South Africa will account for almost half of these connections. 5G growth in the region will be slow but steady, as a larger share of the customer base will continue to migrate to 4G. Growing demand for the internet is catalyzing the growth of the 5G fixed wireless access (FWA) market in the region, with operators such as Orange Botswana and Telkom South Africa having launched commercial 5G FWA services.
  • “FWA will act as a primary broadband connection and help improve coverage in the region. At the same time, it will give operators an opportunity to increase their number of subscribers and build new use cases,” GSMA said in the report.

GSMA in the report noted that there has been a steady growth of unique mobile subscribers in Sub-Saharan Africa.

According to the body, this would continue over the next seven years, taking the total to nearly 700 million by the end of 2030.

Again, Nigeria and Ethiopia are projected to account for almost a third of total subscribers in Africa by 2030.

Mobile penetration in the region is also projected to reach 50% by 2030; however, this will be much lower than the global average of 73% by the same year.

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