5G in Africa: Enterprises to fuel uptake, but network deployment lags

5G mobile technology promises to unlock real-time analytics, cloud-based AI and IoT applications for enterprises, but African service providers are just starting to deploy the wireless mobile technology.

5g wireless mobile data connection
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As telecommunications companies prepare their networks to offer superfast 5G mobile technology, enterprises are expected to be among the first users in sub-Saharan Africa, particularly in areas such as real-time analytics and internet of things (IoT) implementations.

A few network operators in the region have already marked their first deployment milestones and started rolling out services. That’s the good news – the bad news is that, due to the high costs of building 5G infrastructure, coverage is not expected to be widespread for another four or five years, and even then, big commercial deployments will likely be restricted to a minority of countries on the continent.

As service providers start to trial 5G, though, far-sighted CIOs will be checking to see what is happening in their respective markets and thinking ahead to what sort of applications the technology will enable for their own businesses.

“Though mass deployment and adoption of 5G in Sub-Saharan Africa are still several years away, recent developments indicate what the 5G landscape could look like, and the potential value creation opportunities,” according to a recent GSMA trade association survey report, 5G in Sub-Saharan Africa: laying the foundation. “The 2020s will see an increase in 5G activities, with South Africa – the most advanced market in the region – leading the way.”

5G is essentially a set of standards and technologies that will allow for transmission speeds up to 20 times faster than 4G. It’s expected to accelerate the development of  IoT – enabling lower latency among devices as well as lower power consumption.

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