Mid-band 5G is expected to bring up to $13 billion to the Sub-Saharan Africa economy or around 0.4% of gross domestic product by 2030, says Global System for Mobile Communications Association (GSMA).
5G networks bring substantial improvements over 4G networks, including higher connection speeds, greater capacity and low latency. With this increased performance, 5G networks can enable new use cases and applications that will positively impact many industry sectors.
While 5G penetration may be lower, its overall impact by 2030 will be higher as a percentage of GDP than in, for example, Europe and North America, according to GSMA.
To realise the potential benefits of this technology, GSMA noted that countries should plan accordingly for the timely availability of spectrum for mobile services, as it is a key factor for 5G coverage and capacity.
“At the country level, South Africa is forecast to account for 43% of the region’s overall contribution to GDP from mid-band 5G, followed by Nigeria and Angola,” stated GSMA in its report focusing on the socio-economic benefits of mid-band 5G services.
In terms of economic sectors, 5G mid-band applications GSMA said will mostly be used by and benefit retail, manufacturing and agriculture.
“Mid-band 5G is expected to enable a large set of applications in smart agriculture/smart monitoring. Countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, with high levels of exposure to the sector, are expected to benefit greatly from this.”
Back home, Econet last week became the first mobile network operator in Zimbabwe to set up a 5G base station in Avondale, Harare. This is the culmination of their partnership with Ericsson and ZTE.
Experts say governments need to offer incentives to encourage infrastructure and spectrum-sharing among operators that can reduce investment costs – Harare