Fixed broadband subscriptions in sub-Saharan Africa tipped to grow three-fold in 2023 – Ovum report

16 May 2019

Fixed broadband subscriptions in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) are tipped to multiply three-fold to 17 million in 2023, from the current levels of 6.6 million, according to Ovum, a London-based global technology research and advisory firm.

The report, called Fixed- Wireless Access Broadband Drives Development in sub-Saharan Africa, said that the region’s legacy of poor fixed-network coverage represents a significantly large and untapped market for broadband service providers. However, strong demand for broadband connectivity in SSA is not being adequately addressed by wireline technologies such as XDSL and fibre.

“Coupled with the speed of growth and the clear appetite for new digitalmedia and internet-based services among consumers, among businesses and the public sector, this calls for broadband solutions that are costeffective and can be quickly deployed,” Julian Bright, a senior analyst at OVUM and the author of the report said. “Where the economics are favourable, FWA provides an effective complement to or even substitute for, fixed wireline connectivity. Further opportunities for FWA will continue to open up as operators and service providers in the region realize the benefits of LTE-based FWA.”

In addition to providing internet connectivity for remote and rural populations, FWA can support the growth of digital media, provide the wider population with access to government services and meet the demands of businesses for highquality broadband services.

FWA has emerged as one of the most significant growth drivers around the world, demonstrated by explosive user growth both developed markets like Japan, Germany and Italy as well as emerging countries like South Africa, Philippines and Mexico.

Some commentators have claimed that eventually 5G FWA will have a significant impact on fixed broadband just as 2G had on fixed voice over 20-years-ago. According to a financial report published by Telkom in South Africa, its WTTx new subscriber base increased by 340,000 in the fiscal year 2018, versus 35,000 new fibre users.