Research » Archive  

The Mobile Economy Sub-Saharan Africa 2019

Migration to mobile broadband continues apace in Sub-Saharan Africa; during 2019, 3G will overtake 2G to become the leading mobile technology in the region, with just over 45% of total connections by the end of the year. 3G adoption has doubled over the last two years as a result of network coverage expansion and cheaper devices. Sub-Saharan Africa lags other regions in 4G adoption - by the end of 2018, 4G accounted for 7% of total connections, compared to the global average of 44% - but this is beginning to change due to new 4G spectrum assignments in several countries and a marked increase in network deployment. Seven LTE networks have been launched in the region since the start of 2019, including in Ghana and Burkina Faso. 4G adoption will overtake 2G in 2023 and rise to 23% of connections by 2025.

Sub-Saharan Africa will remain the fastest growing region, with an additional 167 million subscribers over the period to 2025. This will take the total subscriber base to just over 600 million, representing around half the population. Nigeria and Ethiopia will record the fastest growth rates between now and 2025, at 19% and 11% respectively. Across the region, the demographic bulge will result in large numbers of young consumers becoming adults and owning a mobile phone for the first time. This segment of the population will account for the majority of new mobile subscribers and, as ‘digital natives’, will significantly influence mobile usage patterns in the future.

Mobile-enabled platforms are increasingly disrupting traditional value chains in different verticals across the region. These platforms – mostly developed by a rapidly expanding local tech start-up ecosystem – are helping to eliminate inefficiencies in conventional business models, as well as extend the reach of services and provide greater choice to consumers.

Latest research


To cite our research or talk to a GSMA Intelligence analyst, see our citation policy.

For media resources, see our media and team sections.

Discuss this research

Contact us regarding any of the topics or data in our research.

Share this research