Tracking 5G Releases in the Middle East and Africa

According to the most recent information from TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database Service, since March 2023, 18 nations in the Middle East and Africa (MEA) area are served by business 5G services.

This consists of 8 in the Middle East and 10 in Africa.

UAE Blazes A Trail

The very first complete business 5G mobile service in the MEA area was presented by Etisalat in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in Might 2019, followed carefully by its domestic competing Du the following month.

Etisalat turned on the area’s very first pre-commercial 5G networks in choose Abu Dhabi and Dubai places in January 2018. The service provider then went on to release a 5G repaired cordless deal in September of the very same year– however at that phase the network still had a minimal footprint and wasn’t offered to mobile users.

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

In Might 2019, with 5G-capable handsets now offered to UAE clients, the Etisalat network was opened for complete mobile usage.

By February 2023, the 5G network served all primary metropolitan locations and numerous linking highways, consisting of Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Fujairah, Ras Al-Kaimah, and Umm Al-Quwain, with a population protection of 97%.

5G Standalone (SA) services were carried out at the end of February 2023 Etisalat declared that the upgrade would use “a substantial enhancement” for its company and property mobile clients.

18 Countries Up Until Now
5G Introduce Timeline

5G Launch Timeline Source: TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database

On the other hand, Du introduced 5G in June 2019, simply days after Etisalat. In February 2020 it turned on the nation’s very first mmWave base station utilizing 26GHz spectrum.

Du declared 90% population protection for 5G by end-2021, increasing to 94% 12 months later on.

African Leaders

After the UAE, the next 4 MEA nations to get 5G were all in the Middle East, with launches in Bahrain, Kuwait, and Qatar in July 2019, followed by Saudi Arabia in the 4th quarter of that year.

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

Vodacom South Africa released standards-based repaired cordless 5G gain access to in August 2018, however could not use the service on a business basis due to its absence of 3.5 GHz spectrum.

A collaboration with Liquid made it possible for Vodacom to present a complete 5G mobile deal in Johannesburg, Pretoria, and Cape Town in Might 2020.

Its rival MTN South Africa wasn’t far behind, executing its own 5G service in July 2020. It has actually considering that increased its protection to around 20% of the population.

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

There was a flurry of African 5G launches in 2022. Providers were presented to Botswana and Zimbabwe in February, Réunion in June, Nigeria and Tanzania in September, and Zambia in November.

Saudi Arabia Has A Lot Of Memberships

The MEA market with the most 5G users is Saudi Arabia, with over 11.2 million memberships at the end of 2022, comparable to more than a quarter of the overall mobile sector.

It’s well ahead of second-place South Africa, which had actually an approximated 5.0 million 5G memberships on the very same date.

31.4 Million 5G Users
5G Markets by Memberships

Nation Area Overall Mobile Subs 5G Subs 5G Share of
Overall Subs
Saudi Arabia Middle East 44,720,000 11,218,220 25.1%
South Africa Africa 112,397,558 5,000,000 4.4%
UAE Middle East 20,000,000 3,500,000 17.5%
Kuwait Middle East 7,657,602 3,369,000 44.0%
Qatar Middle East 5,393,631 2,787,000 51.7%
Israel Middle East 10,440,000 2,235,000 21.4%
Iran Middle East 134,837,000 1,550,000 1.1%
Oman Middle East 7,161,643 1,028,000 14.4%
Bahrain Middle 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%

Source: TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database

The area as a whole is house to 31.4 million 5G users.

The biggest 5G service provider in Saudi Arabia– and the MEA area– is Saudi Telecom Business (stc), which declared 5.6 million 5G memberships by December 2022.

Having actually tattooed network rollout arrangements with devices providers like Huawei, Nokia, and Ericsson, stc has more than 75 cities and towns in its 5G footprint. The service provider carried out advanced 5G SA services in the very first half of 2022.

The 2nd greatest 5G operator is Mobily, likewise from Saudi Arabia, which had practically 3.3 million memberships by end-2022. In 3rd location is Africa’s biggest fifth-generation service provider, Vodacom South Africa, with around 2.7 million.

Qatar can claim the nation with the quickest take-up of 5G services, as majority of all its mobile users have actually moved to 5G memberships.

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