Sub-Saharan Africa Telecommunications Q4 2020

Sub-Saharan Africa Telecommunications Q4 2020

Key View:

The Sub-Saharan African telecommunications market is expected to maintain a positive trajectory through to the end ofour 2029 forecast period. We believe that the market supported around 785.4mn mobile subscribers at the end of 2019, for apenetration rate of 71.6%. By 2029, this figure should grow to around 1.1bn subscriptions, a penetration rate of 78.4%. Themigration from 3G to 4G services will be a core theme during the forecast period, with stronger prospects for mobile 5G uptake fromthe middle of our forecast period supported by demand in more affluent, tech savvy markets such as South Africa, Mauritius, Kenyaand Nigeria. In terms of broadband uptake, the uptake of fibre optic services in some markets is notable, but for the most part, 3G/4G mobile broadband will remain good enough. Growth in the fixed line segment remains muted owing to underdeveloped fixedline infrastructure across the region. This makes mobile the only financially viable alternative to wireline broadband, notwithstandingthe uptake of fibre-optic services in key markets such as South Africa and Kenya. Overall, the operators' revenues from retail mobileservices will be impacted by factors such as increasing tax burdens, operational risk challenges from service disruptions and theftand damage of vital telecommunications infrastructure, as well as elevated political and economic uncertainty in numerousmarkets. That said, we note upsides for enterprise services as several key business centres in the region, mostly in coastal countries,will properly embrace premium broadband connectivity within the next five to six years, driven by the emergence of smart citydevelopments and industrial IoT applications.


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