Monitoring 5G Deployments within the Center East and Africa


In response to the most recent information from TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database Service, as of March 2023, 18 international locations within the Center East and Africa (MEA) area are served by industrial 5G companies.

This contains eight within the Center East and 10 in Africa.

UAE Leads the Means

The primary full industrial 5G cellular service within the MEA area was launched by Etisalat within the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in Could 2019, adopted intently by its home rival Du the next month.

Etisalat switched on the area’s first pre-commercial 5G networks in choose Abu Dhabi and Dubai areas in January 2018. The supplier then went on to launch a 5G mounted wi-fi supply in September of the identical yr—although at that stage the community nonetheless had a restricted footprint and wasn’t obtainable to cellular customers.

The UAE authorities confirmed the award of 5G-capable 3.3GHz–3.8GHz spectrum to Etisalat and Du in November 2018.

In Could 2019, with 5G-capable handsets now obtainable to UAE clients, the Etisalat community was opened for full cellular use.

By February 2023, the 5G community served all foremost city areas and lots of connecting highways, together with Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Fujairah, Ras Al-Kaimah, and Umm Al-Quwain, with a inhabitants protection of 97%.

5G Standalone (SA) companies have been carried out on the finish of February 2023. Etisalat claimed that the improve would supply “a big enchancment” for its enterprise and residential cellular clients.

18 Nations So Far
5G Launch Timeline

5G Launch TimelineSupply: TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database

In the meantime, Du launched 5G in June 2019, simply days after Etisalat. In February 2020 it switched on the nation’s first mmWave base station utilizing 26GHz spectrum.

Du claimed 90% inhabitants protection for 5G by end-2021, rising to 94% 12 months later.

African Pioneers

After the UAE, the following 4 MEA international locations to get 5G have been all within the Center East, with launches in Bahrain, Kuwait, and Qatar in July 2019, adopted by Saudi Arabia within the fourth quarter of that yr.

Africa’s first 5G community was launched by wholesale operator Liquid Telecom South Africa in March 2020, utilizing its 3.5GHz spectrum holdings.

Vodacom South Africa deployed standards-based mounted wi-fi 5G entry in August 2018, however couldn’t supply the service on a industrial foundation as a consequence of its lack of three.5GHz spectrum.

A partnership with Liquid enabled Vodacom to introduce a full 5G cellular supply in Johannesburg, Pretoria, and Cape City in Could 2020.

Its competitor MTN South Africa wasn’t far behind, implementing its personal 5G service in July 2020. It has since elevated its protection to round 20% of the inhabitants.

There was a flurry of African 5G launches in 2022.

There was a flurry of African 5G launches in 2022. Companies have been launched to Botswana and Zimbabwe in February, Réunion in June, Nigeria and Tanzania in September, and Zambia in November.

Saudi Arabia Has Most Subscriptions

The MEA market with essentially the most 5G customers is Saudi Arabia, with over 11.2 million subscriptions on the finish of 2022, equal to greater than 1 / 4 of the entire cellular sector.

It’s effectively forward of second-place South Africa, which had an estimated 5.0 million 5G subscriptions on the identical date.

31.4 Million 5G Customers
5G Markets by Subscriptions

Nation Area Complete Cellular Subs 5G Subs 5G Share of
Complete Subs
Saudi Arabia Center East 44,720,000 11,218,220 25.1%
South Africa Africa 112,397,558 5,000,000 4.4%
UAE Center East 20,000,000 3,500,000 17.5%
Kuwait Center East 7,657,602 3,369,000 44.0%
Qatar Center East 5,393,631 2,787,000 51.7%
Israel Center East 10,440,000 2,235,000 21.4%
Iran Center East 134,837,000 1,550,000 1.1%
Oman Center East 7,161,643 1,028,000 14.4%
Bahrain Center East 2,161,000 488,000 22.6%
Mauritius Africa 2,095,499 80,000 3.8%
Nigeria Africa 209,450,208 50,000 0.0%
Togo Africa 6,402,786 33,000 0.5%
Seychelles Africa 200,750 16,410 8.2%
Réunion Africa 961,000 13,000 1.4%
Zimbabwe Africa 14,570,000 6,000 0.0%
Botswana Africa 4,363,006 5,000 0.1%
Zambia Africa 20,370,000 5,000 0.0%
Tanzania Africa 60,192,331 600 0.0%

Supply: TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database

The area as a complete is dwelling to 31.4 million 5G customers.

The most important 5G supplier in Saudi Arabia—and the MEA area—is Saudi Telecom Firm (stc), which claimed 5.6 million 5G subscriptions by December 2022.

Having inked community rollout agreements with tools suppliers like Huawei, Nokia, and Ericsson, stc has greater than 75 cities and cities in its 5G footprint. The supplier carried out extra superior 5G SA companies within the first half of 2022.

The second greatest 5G operator is Mobily, additionally from Saudi Arabia, which had nearly 3.3 million subscriptions by end-2022. In third place is Africa’s largest fifth-generation supplier, Vodacom South Africa, with round 2.7 million.

Qatar can lay declare to the nation with the quickest take-up of 5G companies, as greater than half of all its cellular customers have migrated to 5G subscriptions.


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