Nokia research reveals 5G subscriptions in MEA to exceed 250 million by 2026

Majority will be in Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, South Africa, Nigeria and North African countries

5G data traffic share to exceed 70 percent in GCC countries by 2026, driven by the demand for data-intensive applications for industrial and individual use cases

By 2026, 263 million people are predicted to have 5G subscriptions in the Middle East and Africa (MEA) area, according to research released by Nokia. The majority of the rise in 5G subscriptions will occur in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) nations, which include Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Qatar, Oman, Kuwait and Bahrain. The adoption of customers in South Africa, Nigeria, and other North African nations would also rise with the introduction of new spectrum. High-bandwidth consumer apps and industrial use cases are causing an increase in this trend. 5g middle east

The Nokia MEA Broadband Index Report – I* provides valuable insight, data and analysis on mobile broadband subscribers, coverage, ARPU and traffic growth in the MEA region, as well its respective sub-regions: GCC, Southern Africa, North Africa, Middle East, and Central East West Africa. The report has been created based on Nokia’s intelligence, as well as data from third-party sources, GlobalData and Tutela.

In GCC countries, 5G technology will dominate with the subscriber base reaching 64 percent of the total and with data traffic likely to surpass 70 percent by 2026, according to the study.

In Africa, 5G technology adoption will grow steadily, driven by the evolution of the device ecosystem and 5G spectrum allocations in many countries. While 4G subscribers in the Southern Africa region are projected to reach 105 million (58 percent of total subscribers) by 2026, 5G will contribute more than one-fifth of data traffic in the same time-frame.

North African operators have seen a high demand for mobile broadband and the region is expected to have a 20 percent increase in total subscribers by 2026, compared to 2022.

In Central East West Africa, today more than 60 percent of the total data traffic is carried by 4G. This traffic is expected to grow four times over the next four years. At the same time, 5G subscriptions are expected to account for nearly 10 percent of the total mobile subscribers in this period. 5g middle east

The study also reveals that 5G and 4G together are expected to drive more than 90 percent of data traffic in MEA. Total data traffic is expected to increase significantly in the next four years with a compound annual growth rate of 35 percent.

Mikko Lavanti, Head of Mobile Networks, Nokia MEA, said,“Globally, the pace of 5G network rollouts has surpassed 4G/LTE networks. Two years after the first LTE launch there were only 25 million subscriptions across 60 networks, while two years after the first 5G launch, 340 million subscriptions were registered across 155 networks. Similarly, in MEA, our MEA Broadband Index Report finds 40 percent year-on-year growth in 4G data traffic but a huge 350 percent year-on-year growth in 5G data traffic in 2021 alone. This trend in the region clearly indicates that there is a pressing need for the adoption and expansion of 5G networks across the region.”

“Ultra-low latency and ultra-fast 5G networks can support a plethora of unimaginable use cases such as augmented and virtual reality and uncover new potential in digitizing sectors such as energy, transport, healthcare, manufacturing and education while providing amazing experiences to individual users.”


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