Press Release: On Monday, October 9, Huawei and GSMA Intelligence organized the 2023 Africa Mobile Broadband Summit in Dubai. The event brought together African telecommunications regulators, industry bodies, operators, think tanks, and industrial partners to discuss a wide range of topics, including the expansion of mobile coverage, the development of 4G adoption, and the management of the region's transition to 5G.
During the summit, Li Peng, Corporate Senior Vice President of Huawei and President of Huawei Carrier BG, stated, "Africa, the continent with the youngest population in the world, has significant digital potential. Huawei is in Africa, for Africa. Alongside regional operators and industry partners, we will increase our investments in the development of innovative solutions to connect those who still lack access to connectivity, reduce the digital divide, and accelerate the development of the mobile broadband industry in Africa. By doing so, we will all be better positioned to seize the opportunities presented by digitization.
Li Peng also emphasized that high-speed mobile networks are the foundation of digital infrastructure and must continue to evolve to support Africa's digital transformation.
He stated: "Regarding how this evolution unfolds, we believe that Africa can benefit from a coordinated development of 4G and 5G." Li Peng also addressed the issue of sustainability, especially concerning the growing energy consumption: "The energy efficiency of networks is crucial as Africa embarks on a more sustainable path. In collaboration with our clients and partners, we continuously innovate to enhance energy efficiency and promote greener development through more environmentally friendly ICT.
The mobile phone industry in Africa has experienced rapid growth in recent years, making mobile internet a practical reality for an increasing number of people on the continent. Although the number of mobile broadband users in the region has multiplied by 20 in the last decade, disparities in usage and coverage persist. According to GSMA Intelligence, by the end of 2022, only 28% of the African population was connected and using mobile broadband. While 3G remains the dominant form of connectivity in sub-Saharan Africa, the mobile industry is expected to expand rapidly and evolve towards next-generation technologies in the coming years
GSMA Intelligence predicts that 4G and 5G will represent almost two-thirds of total mobile connections in Africa by the end of 2030. During the same period, the mobile industry is expected to generate economic growth of $280 billion USD and become a new driver of socio-economic development in the region. Peter Jarich, Director of GSMA Intelligence, presented an overview of mobile industry trends in Africa. In his speech, he emphasized that reducing the connectivity gap is a top priority for all stakeholders in the industry in Africa
In order to increase mobile phone penetration and bridge the digital divide, Peter Jarich recommended that policymakers and regulatory authorities increase spectrum availability across all bands, ensure technological neutrality, and reduce tax burdens on devices. He also suggested that, while expanding coverage, operators should reflect on how to more effectively facilitate the transition from 2G/3G to 4G/5G.
Al Hassan Agack, Marketing Director of Orange Guinea, shared his perspective on how to accelerate the development of 4G and leverage demographic wealth and data dividends. "Sub-Saharan Africa has entered the era of data-driven operations," he declared.
In this context, operators in the region should consider how to further accelerate the mobile industry through digital transformation and make the most of demographic wealth and data. Orange Guinea aims to strengthen collaboration between businesses and networks through innovative digital solutions that will help promote business transformation, enhance operational efficiency, and increase corporate revenues.
Benjamin Hou, President of Huawei Northern Africa Carrier Business, emphasized Huawei's commitment to the development of the mobile industry in Africa. He affirmed the company's willingness to work closely with all stakeholders in the mobile industry to promote the development of mobile broadband in the region and foster a prosperous digital Africa.