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By 2018, LTE Networks Expected to Cover Half of Africa's Population

By the end of 2018, half the African population will be covered by LTE networks, as LTE base station deployment swells at a CAGR of 40 percent over the next five years, finds ABI Research.

However, LTE network population coverage will be far from homogenous across the region, with a few countries such as Angola and Namibia nearing the halfway point already while wealthier nations like Botswana and Gabon have yet to deploy the advanced technology. “Part of the underlying reason for this digital divide is the different types of initiatives driving LTE roll-out,” comments Ying Kang Tan, research associate. “We expect wholesale or shared networks such as the joint venture between the Rwandan government and Korea Telecom and the public-private partnership proposed by the Kenyan government to spur LTE deployment. While the public-private partnership has stalled, the government is considering a spectrum sharing agreement to resolve the matter. Other initiatives such as a pure LTE operator, Smile, will also introduce new dynamics into the wireless market.”

Meanwhile, African LTE cellular subscriptions are projected to multiply at a CAGR of 128 percent to surpass 50 million at the end of 2018—nearly half are expected to be able to use VoLTE services.

“What makes this exponential subscription growth possible is the increasing affordability of LTE handsets a few years down the road,” says Jake Saunders, vice president and practice director. “LTE handset shipments will increase by 75 percent annually on average in the next five years. Given the poor fixed-line infrastructure, people will depend on the wireless network for internet access. There is a strong business case for mobile operators to roll out LTE early to take advantage of the opportunity.”

The “4G Subscribers, Devices and Networks” Market Data contains regional as well as selected country-level segmentation for the 4G market, including mobile WiMAX and LTE. Segmentation includes subscribers, devices and base stations. These findings are part of the LTE & 5G Research Service.

Source: ABI Research

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