Mobile Broadband Media Inclusion Roundtable

Akinwale Goodluck, Head of Sub-Saharan Africa took part in an online Mobile Broadband Inclusion media roundtable at the request of Huawei. During the interview, he highlighted the fact that 4G adoption in Africa is low but there is capacity for it to take off once the challenges to internet adoption are addressed. I made it clear that governments and mobile operators are moving to cater to this demand as they anticipate a growing need for 4G services.

“For now, 4G adoption is low in Africa,” he said “Aside from South Africa, where 23% of total mobile connections use 4G, the average for Sub-Saharan Africa is about 7%. We have the capacity in the ground, but there is work to be done in addressing the challenges to internet adoption.”

During the interview that was attended by journalists from various media outlets, Mr. Akinwale also touched on issues related to the Covid-19 pandemic and lauded the region’s mobile network operators’ efforts in supporting governments across Sub-Saharan Africa to contain the spread of the virus.

He explained that GSMA has since the crisis began, noted changes in network traffic patterns; pointing out that there is now higher data usage in areas where the network operators had not dimensioned to support such unusually high traffic.

He was quick to note that there has been a surge in 4G demand partly because content, social interaction and governance have, as a result of the pandemic, taken place more via the internet and therefore people have had more reason to go online.

The other cause for this was because the technology was ready, as operators supported by companies like Huawei are beginning to develop more solutions, and rolling these out to new areas.

“Mobile broadband is being made more practical, in terms of costs, technology and operability in rural regions. This is beginning to close the coverage gap,” Goodluck said.