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Mobile Operators and Networks

The Mobile Economy Sub-Saharan Africa 2021

The mobile industry in Sub-Saharan Africa continues to play a crucial role in the response to Covid-19. Mobile operators have implemented measures to support vulnerable communities including offering discounts on mobile tariffs and providing digital content and tools to help people and businesses get online.

By the end of 2020, 495 million people subscribed to mobile services in Sub-Saharan Africa, representing 46% of the region’s population - an increase of almost 20 million on 2019. With more than 40% of the region’s population under the age of 15, young consumers owning a mobile phone for the first time will remain the primary source of growth for the foreseeable future.

Over the period to 2025, 4G adoption in Sub-Saharan Africa will double to 28%, compared to a global average of 57%. It is still early stages in the journey to 5G in Sub-Saharan Africa; as of June 2021, there were seven commercial 5G networks in five markets across the region. By the end of 2025, 5G will account for 3% of total mobile connections in the region.

As economies recover and restrictions ease, mobile technology will be even more integral to how people live and how businesses operate. It will enable new digital solutions for small and large enterprises and support the growing use of online channels by consumers. Strong investor confidence and consumer interest in digital platforms point to a digital-centric future for Sub-Saharan Africa, with mobile at the centre of the creation and consumption of innovative solutions.

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