RIYADH, Saudi Arabia – Nokia today announced research that forecasts 5G subscriptions are expected to reach 263 million in the Middle East and Africa (MEA) region by 2026. The 5G subscription growth will primarily be in Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, including Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Qatar, Oman, Kuwait and Bahrain. Additionally, subscribers in South Africa, Nigeria and North African countries will increase adoption following the release of new spectrum. This trend is triggered by the increasing use of high-bandwidth consumer applications and industrial use cases.
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.
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.
*The Nokia MEA Broadband Index Report - II will be published in 2023.
Read the full press release here.