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Africa will have more than 1 billion mobile broadband connections by 2022 

November 6, 2017
Cape Town, South Africa \ London, United Kingdom

Mobile data will be the main driver of growth in the African telecoms market, with the number of mobile broadband connections on the continent set to more than double over the coming five years, and rise from 419 million at end-2017, to 1.07 billion at end-2022, according to Ovum’s new Forecaster data service.

The growth of mobile broadband in Africa will be facilitated by the further roll-out of 3G W-CDMA and 4G LTE networks, and the increasing affordability of smartphones. In 2019, W-CDMA will become Africa’s biggest mobile technology by subscriptions, and there will be 858 million W-CDMA connections on the continent by end-2022, Ovum forecasts. There will also be 210 million LTE subscriptions in Africa at end-2022. 

Ovum expects Africa’s first 5G services to launch in 2021, but initial take-up will be modest, with fewer than 1 million 5G subscriptions on the continent at end-2022. 



 Click here for an enlarged view of Ovum’s Africa connectivity forecast infographic


Africa mobile subscriptions forecast by technology, 2017-22

Africa mobile subscriptions by 2022

 Source: Ovum


The increase in data connectivity in Africa is accompanied by rising data revenues for operators, and is creating a platform for new, digital services. But it is also shaking up Africa’s telecoms, media and technology (TMT) market. Facebook said earlier this year that it had 170 million active users in Africa, which means it has more customers on the continent than Africa’s biggest telecoms operator, MTN Group, which had 165 million mobile subscriptions in Africa at end-1H17.

“Data connectivity is growing strongly in Africa, and there are also good prospects on the continent in areas such as digital media, mobile financial services, and the Internet of Things,” said Matthew Reed, Practice Leader Middle East and Africa at Ovum. “But as Africa’s TMT market becomes more convergent and complex, service providers are under increasing pressure to make the transition from being providers of communications services, and to become providers of digital services.”
Note: Mobile broadband connections are those based on 3G and more advanced technology standards.

Further market trends across Africa are explored in Ovum’s new report Africa Market Outlook, which is available here

The Ovum Team attending AfricaCom 2017 will be chairing and moderating several conference sessions over the three days and include:

  • Matthew Reed, Practice Leader, Middle East and Africa, will be presenting in the LeadersIn Africa Summit Summit on November 7th

  • Thecla Mbongue, Senior Analyst, who will be chairing in the Mobile Finance & Commerce conference stream on November 7th, and in the LTE Africa stream on November 8th. Mark Oliver, Head of Consulting EMEA, will be moderating in the LeadersIn Africa Summit on November 7th.

  • Matthew Pougher, Director of Business Development, will be demonstrating Ovum Forecaster at the Ovum booth at stand number H7C, and on the Innovation Stage

  • Grant Watson, Sales Director for Africa, will be at the Ovum booth at stand number H7B

Please do reach out to the Ovum team for more information about Ovum’s research, data and consulting services, including Forecaster.


About Forecaster

Ovum has recently launched Forecaster, the industry’s most powerful market data and forecasting service. With more than 130 market forecasts, comprehensive historical data, and detailed operator KPIs, Forecaster is the definitive source to support your strategic decisions. No other service matches its depth of market: mobile, fixed line, pay TV (22 African countries) and OTT TV (30 African countries). 

Forecaster has been designed to help organizations achieve competitive advantage while saving them time and mitigating risk. It will enable digital service providers to develop better strategies around not only those services, technologies and markets that are in growth, but also to more proactively identify and handle areas in decline or under substantial competitive pressure.


Learn More


About Ovum


Ovum is a market-leading data, research and consulting firm focused on helping digital service providers and their technology partners thrive in the connected digital economy. Through its 150 analysts and consultants worldwide, it offers expert analysis and strategic insight across the IT, telecoms, and media industries. Founded in 1985, Ovum has one of the most experienced analyst teams in the industry and is a respected source of guidance for business leaders, CIOs, vendors, service providers, and regulators looking for comprehensive, accurate, and insightful market data, research, and consulting. With 23 offices across six continents, Ovum offers a truly global perspective on technology, communications and media markets and provides clients with insight including workflow tools, forecasts, surveys, market assessments, technology audits, and opinion.

Ovum is part of the Business Intelligence Division of Informa plc, a leading business intelligence, academic publishing, knowledge and events group listed on the London Stock Exchange.


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For more information, contact: 

Alison Cross
[email protected]
+44 (0) 777 070 4398