Mobile economy in Nigeria, other SSA markets rise to $150b

The mobile ecosystem in Nigeria and other sub-Saharan African countries is growing fast as recent report says it generated about $150 billion in economic value last year.

This is equivalent to 8.6 per cent of the region’s gross domestic product (GDP), a new report released on recently by telecoms industry group, Global System for Mobile Communication Association (GSMA), has shown.

The report also said the figure will rise to almost $185 billion (9.1 per cent of GDP) by 2023 driven chiefly by Nigeria and Ethiopia.

GSMA said sub-Saharan Africa will remain the world’s fastest-growing mobile region over the coming years as millions of young African consumers become mobile users for the first time.

It said more than 160 million new unique mobile subscribers will be added across the region by 2025, bringing the total to 623 million, representing around half of the region’s population, up from 456 million (44 per cent) in 2018.

Its Head, sub-Saharan Africa, Akinwale Goodluck said 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.

“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,” Goodluck said.

The group said its 2019 Sub-Saharan Africa edition of the GSMA’s Mobile Economy report series will be published at the ‘Mobile 360 – Africa’ forum scheduled this week for Kigali, Rwanda.

The new report also revealed that around 239 million people, equivalent to 23 per cent of the region’s population, use the mobile internet on a regular basis; and smartphones accounted for 39 per cent of mobile connections in sub-Saharan Africa in 2018, forecast to increase to two thirds of connections by 2025. It said 3G will overtake 2G to become the leading mobile technology in sub-Saharan Africa this year while 4G will account for almost one in four connections by 2025. However, 4G uptakes is being dampened in some markets by the high cost of 4G devices and delays in assigning 4G spectrum.

The region’s mobile operators are increasing investment in their networks and are expected to spend $60 billion (capex) on network infrastructure and services between 2018 and 2025 – almost a fifth of this total being invested in new 5G network.


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