Though 2G and 3G likely will continue to represent the mobile networks most consumers connect to, by end-2018, half the African population will be covered by Long Term Evolution networks, according to ABI Research.
African LTE mobile subscriptions will grow at a 128 percent compound annual growth rate to surpass 50 million subscribers at the end of 2018, ABI Research forecasts.
“LTE handset shipments will increase by 75 percent annually on average in the next five years,” said Jake Saunders, ABI Research VP and practice director. “Given the poor fixed-line infrastructure, people will depend on the wireless network for Internet access.”
LTE base stations will grow at a compound annual growth rate of 40 percent over the next five years, ABI Research forecasts.
However, LTE network population coverage will be far from homogenous across the region, with a few countries such as Angola and Namibia nearing the halfway point already while wealthier nations like Botswana and Gabon have yet to deploy the advanced technology.
“Part of the underlying reason for this digital divide is the different types of initiatives driving LTE roll-out,” said Ying Kang Tan, ABI Research research associate. “We expect wholesale or shared networks such as the joint venture between the Rwandan government and Korea Telecom and the public-private partnership proposed by the Kenyan government to spur LTE deployment.
Projected 2018 Network Subscriptions by Type of Network