Increasing LTE penetration in sub-Saharan Africa is a significant opportunity for connectivity equipment and service providers. This is according to Nora Wahby, Vice President and the Head of Ericsson’s Customer Unit for West Africa & Morocco.
Speaking to MyBroadband at AfricaCom 2019 in Cape Town, Wahby said that the penetration rate of LTE in sub-Saharan Africa does not exceed 7%.
This penetration rate measures the number of people using LTE services compared to all cellular customers.
“We believe that between now and 2024 this is going to reach 40% — at least — on LTE. The total broadband subscription will be 90% between 4G and 3G,” said Wahby.
“We think the opportunity is here [in Africa]. That is why we are here to accompany our customers in their journey in this transformational vision.”
Wahby highlighted that there is still a significant number of people in the region who do not have a cellphone at all.
“The subscription penetration rate on the African continent is only 81%,” she said. This means there is 19% of the total population of Africa who do not possess a mobile phone.
“Every person on this continent, we believe, is very keen on getting connected.”
She said that increased LTE penetration will come with more coverage, and through handsets becoming more affordable. More promotion and the better addressing of the needs of subscribers are also an important component of driving uptake.
“The need will only continue to grow,” Wahby said.
One of the key benefits of greater mobile broadband penetration is that connectivity is proven to contribute positively to the economic growth of every country.
“If we want to stretch the capability of this continent to the maximum, broadband is a key enabler,” she said.
One study done with Imperial College showed that for every 10% increase in broadband reach, there is a 0.8% 2.6% increase in economic growth.
Increasing broadband penetration will create innovation around information and communication technologies, and it will increase the reach of other services.
This is just talking about pure broadband services that run on technologies like 4G, Wahby said. This is excluding the effects of the Internet of Things and 5G.
“Boosting broadband will create, directly, job opportunities,” said Wahby.
This article was published in partnership with Ericsson.