Forecast: AME telcos to add 7.5m 5G subs in 2021

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The total number of 5G subscribers in Africa and the Middle East (AME) will reach 10.4 million by 2021, with the majority of 5G networks being in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, Israel, and South Africa, forecasts GlobalData.

According to the data and analytics company, 7.58 million 5G subscribers will be added in 2021, supported by operators investing in expanding the coverage of their 5G networks and recent 5G launches in countries like Iran and Kenya.

Madison Galati, Telecoms Market Data & Intelligence Analyst at GlobalData, commented: “5G activity in AME is predominantly centred around the GCC countries, with operators in countries like Qatar, the UAE, and Saudi Arabia having launched their 5G networks in 2019. These countries have some of the highest purchasing power parity (PPP)-Adjusted GDP per capita and unique mobile user penetration in the region, supporting the investment in launching and expanding 5G networks as well as 5G adoption.”

GlobalData’s Africa and Middle East Mobile Broadband forecast (Q2 2021) finds Qatar, Kuwait, and the UAE to be the top three 5G markets in terms of percentages of 5G mobile subscribers in 2021 in the markets that GlobalData covers. Telecom operators in these countries have focused on expanding the coverage of their 5G networks to boost subscriber numbers. For example, in September 2020, Ooredoo Qatar achieved more than 90 per cent 5G population coverage and reported in Q2 2020 that 6.7 per cent of the total mobile base was on 5G. In addition, Kuwait is set to achieve nationwide 5G coverage in 2021.

Galati added: “With the advancements of 5G network rollouts, telecom operators are adopting strategies to draw 5G subscribers with data-centric 5G plans and added value services. For example, in Israel, three MNOs – Partner, Pelephone, and Hot Mobile – offer 5G postpaid plans with 1,000 GB of data. In addition, in Qatar, both MNOs offer 5G plans with unlimited data with added services such as cyber security solutions and SVoD subscriptions. Outside of the GCC countries, operators such as Turk Telekom are conducting 5G trials, and governments are outlining 5G rollout plans.”


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