But despite low growth and deployment rates for 5G networks on the continent, key progress will be scored on other fronts over the next five years. Mobile network operators are expected to rapidly scale up 5G-related investment across Africa, laying the ground for faster deployment rates in the future. While 5G currently accounts for less than 10% of capital expenditure for telcos, increased investment will see it grow to account for more than half of operators’ capex by as early as 2024.

Regardless of the networks powering them, mobile connections in Africa remain on pace for continued growth: sub-Saharan Africa is expected to add 130 million new subscribers by 2025 with half of that growth spurt coming from Nigeria, Ethiopia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Tanzania and Kenya. The continent’s strong focus on mobile will also see 475 million people using mobile internet in Sub-Saharan Africa by 2025 while smartphone connections will almost double to reach 678 million by the end of 2025.

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