Africa: Mobile Subscribers to Rise by 167m in 6 Years

Mary Agilebu at a Samsung service center in Seremban, Malaysia, June 29, 2019.
  • Africa: Mobile Subscribers to Rise by 167m in 6 Years

Africa’s mobile subscribers to increase by 167 million to 623 million in the next 6 years, a new study by GSMA has shown.

Mobile subscribers in the Sub-Saharan Africa region grew by 20 million in 2018 to 456 million, representing a subscriber penetration rate of 44 percent.

That number is now estimated to grow to over 600 million by 2025 with Nigeria and Ethiopia projected to record the fastest growth rates of 19 percent and 11 percent, respectively.

The projection was based on the growing population of young consumers that are becoming adults and owning a mobile phone for the first time. This new population is expected to account for the majority of new mobile subscribers going forward.

“A new generation of youthful ‘digital natives’ across Sub-Saharan Africa are set to fuel customer growth and drive adoption of new mobile services that are empowering lives and transforming businesses,” said Head of Sub-Saharan Africa, GSMA, Akinwale Goodluck. “With mobile technology at the heart of Sub-Saharan Africa’s digital journey, it is essential for policymakers in the region to implement policies and best practices that ensure sustainable growth in the mobile industry, and enable the transition to next-generation mobile networks.”

The report titled ‘the Mobile Economy, Sub-Saharan Africa 2019’ also shows about 239 million or 23 percent of Africans using mobile phone subscribed for mobile internet service and use it on a regular basis. Nigeria’s mobile internet subscribers rose to 122.6 million in May, up from 119.5 million in April.

In 2019, the 3G network is projected to overtake 2G on the continent and predicted to account for at least 45 percent of total connections by the end of the year.

However, 4G remains low at 7 percent when compared with the global average of 44 percent. The report attributed the slow adoption to a high cost of implementation.

According to the report, mobile technologies and services contributed 8.6 percent to GDP in Sub-Saharan Africa in 2018, accounting for $114 billion in monetary term. While the industry supported 3.5 million jobs –directly and indirectly– and paid almost $15.6 billion in taxes.

By 2023, the industry contribution will increase to $185 billion (9.1 percent) of Africa’s GDP as more countries enhance economic productivity through mobile services.

About the Author

Samed Olukoya
CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and, with over a decade long experience in the global financial market. Contact Samed on Twitter: @sameolukoya; Email: [email protected]

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