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Mobile Subscribers Set To Soar in Sub-Saharan Africa – GSMA Report

Latest GSMA Report Indicates a rise in Mobile Subscribers in Sub-Saharan Africa with more than half a billion unique mobile subscribers projected by 2020.

GSMA have released their 2017 Mobile Economy: Sub-Saharan Africa study which has put unique mobile subscriptions in Sub-Saharan Africa at a penetration rate of 43 percent.

They are expected to grow to over 500,000,000 unique mobile subscriptions in the region by 2020, at a rate that is 50 percent higher than the global average and these will account for nearly two-thirds of total connections in the region.

The GSMA represents the interests of mobile operators worldwide, uniting nearly 800 operators with almost 300 companies in the broader mobile ecosystem, including handset and device makers, software companies, equipment providers and internet companies, as well as organisations in adjacent industry sectors.

Below are key highlights of the 2017 Mobile Economy: Sub-Saharan Africa Report:

Sub-Saharan Africa remains the fastest growing mobile market

420 million unique mobile subscribers were registered at the end of 2016 in Sub-Saharan Africa. This figure is equivalent to a penetration rate of 43%. The region continues to grow faster than any other region; the CAGR of 6.1% over the five years to 2020 is around 50% higher than the global average.

The region will have more than half a billion unique mobile subscribers by 2020, by which time around half the population will subscribe to a mobile service. The total number of SIM connections in the region reached 731 million at the end of 2016 and will rise to nearly 1 billion by 2020.

Four of the most populated markets in the region – DRC, Ethiopia, Nigeria and Tanzania – will account for nearly half the 115 million new subscribers expected by 2020.

Mobile broadband and smartphone adoption gain momentum

The number of mobile broadband connections will reach half a billion by 2020, more than double the number at the end of 2016, and will account for nearly two-thirds of total connections in the region according to the report.

3G will remain the dominant mobile broadband technology for the foreseeable future, but 4G adoption is rising rapidly following increasing network rollout. As of March 2017, there were 97 live 4G networks in 39 countries across Sub-Saharan Africa.

Smartphone connections in Sub-Saharan Africa have doubled over the past two years to nearly 200 million, accounting for a quarter of mobile connections in 2016.

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