mobile 5G connections in
MENA by 2025
will be spent in the region on
infrastructure rollouts between
2019 and 2025
of GDP in MENA in 2019 was
generated by mobile technologies
The mobile industry in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) has largely risen to the challenge of sustaining social and economic activities in the region during the pandemic, despite the unprecedented growth in data traffic. By the end of 2020, nearly 280 million people in the region (45% of the population) will be connected to mobile internet. However, Covid-19 has highlighted the impact of the digital divide for the nearly 350 million people in the region still unable to connect to mobile internet. With digital connectivity expected to play an even more central role in society post Covid-19, it is more important now than ever before to address the barriers to mobile internet adoption and usage in the region.
While Covid-19 appears to have slowed the deployment of 5G networks in non-GCC markets, the 5G leaders in the GCC Arab states have continued to invest in the technology, and 5G activities in non-GCC countries are expected to gather pace again from 2021. Effective management of spectrum is key to maximising this opportunity, and the pandemic has shown how mobile operators and policymakers can work together to improve mobile capacity and coverage by providing temporary access to much-needed spectrum, as demonstrated in countries such as Jordan, Tunisia and Saudi Arabia.