(Ecofin Agency) - 'The Global System Operators' Association (GSMA) estimates that telecom operators will invest $45.2 billion in the mobile network in sub-Saharan Africa by 2025. Mobile penetration over the period is expected to increase from 46% currently to 50% and the number of subscribers will go from 495 million to 615 million as a result of growing demand for telecom services.
In its “The Mobile Economy Sub-Saharan Africa” report, GSMA estimated that “with the use of digital services likely to continue rising, operators’ investments will only become more important. 5G will be a major part of this investment as commercial services are deployed in new parts of the region.”
The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of mobile networks, as they remain the only way to access the Internet for many people in SSA. During the crisis, operators deployed measures, including investments in network capacity, to cope with the explosion in data traffic.
Mobile networks are also the first means of access to the digital economy for a large part of the African population, most of whom are in rural areas. The contribution of the sector to the continent's economy is expected to reach about $150 billion by 2025, up by $20 billion. In 2020, the mobile ecosystem accounted for 8% of GDP (about $130 billion) and the government collected $15 billion in tax revenues from the sector.