Telecommunication technology advances quite slowly but the implementation is even slower. We have moved on from 2G then 3G to 4G in the past 20 years or so in Kenya. 5G is looming in the horizon but the adoption of 4G is still low in the country and in the continent in general.
According to the latest Global System for Mobile Communications (GSMA) report, 4G adoption in the continent is quite low. This is interesting since the hype over 5G is starting to build up and we are yet to have proper 4G coverage in the continent.
However, 4G uptake in the region is still slow. By the end of 2018, 4G accounted for 7% of total connections according to the report. This is thanks to the high cost of 4G enabled devices and the delays in assigning the 4G spectrum to established service providers. However, this is changing. 7 LTE networks have been launched since the start of 2019 in areas like Ghana and Burkina Faso.
In 2019, they say that 3G will overtake 2G to become the leading technology to be used in Sub-Saharan Africa with just over 45% of connections.
GSMA predicts that 4G adoption will overtake 2G in 2023 and will form 23% of connections by 2025. Speaking of 5G, GSMA predicts that 5G connections will rise to about 3% of total connections by 2025.
Meanwhile in the region, the number of smartphone connections rose to 302 million in 2018 and will more than double that to 700 million by 2025. Sub Saharan Africa has 456 million unique subscribers of which 239 million use mobile internet as of 2018.