Will 2021 be the year of 5G in Africa? Not sure. While the world is gradually converting to this technology, the continent is preparing for it a little more slowly. 5G requires large investments, it remains expensive and above all does not necessarily meet the needs of the greatest number. However, countries like Morocco or South Africa have decided to accelerate the step.
With its promises of high speed and fast downloads, 5G makes dream, and some countries such as South Africa and Togo already operate commercial networks.
The operators present in Morocco are in the starting-blocks. On the continent, many countries and especially many cities, have carried out tests and are beginning to equip themselves, as it is the case, for example in Senegal and Nigeria.
But many operators present on the continent are wondering.
Is this really necessary now? In Kenya, Safaricom has postponed its 5G projects, considering that it makes more sense to continue using 4G, the installations of which must be profitable.
Orange is hardly in a hurry in West Africa even if its thinking is changing rapidly. Because 5G requires expensive equipment and subscriptions will necessarily be more expensive, which will initially limit the number of customers.
In a recent report, Swedish equipment maker Eriksson estimated that Africa will have to wait five years to reach the 50 million 5G subscriber mark.
5G will therefore mainly concern an urban and technophile elite, those who work in new technologies, sciences or information.
In the meantime, 3G is likely to dominate Africa mobile networks for a few more years, ahead of 4G which is still in the minority.