by SAVIOUS KWINIKA
JOHANNESBURG – INVESTMENTS in fourth generation of broadband cellular network technology (4G)/ Long Term Evolution (LTE) remain vital for operators in sub-Saharan Africa even with the advent of the 5G era.
According to an expert, 4G/LTE thus must remain a core focus of network construction for the immediate future
David Chen, Huawei Vice-President for Southern Africa, noted that currently, the mobile broadband penetration rate in Africa is 47 percent, while 4G penetration rate is 10 percent.
He said insufficient coverage caused LTE users to fall back to the 2G or 3G networks, resulting in significant decline in user experience.
It also leads to congestion on the 2G and 3G networks and makes it difficult to release spectrum used by 2G and 3G, Chen added.
The executive said that LTE and 5G complemented each other and were evolving in parallel.
It is projected in the next few years, 5G will mainly be used in more industrial communications while LTE will remain the primary choice for global mobile communications through 2025 and will form the basic layer of national networks, especially when it comes to the mobile broadband access.
“It will take a long time for 5G to provide nationwide continuous coverage,” Chen said.
“Before that, enhanced LTE networks can guarantee optimal user experience for 5G users, including services such as VR, AR, and cloud gaming.”
Chen said it was important for operators to invest in 4G to secure future growth, as it is estimated that there will be an additional 80 million LTE users in sub-Saharan Africa by 2025.
Driven by this growth, LTE traffic in sub-Saharan Africa is forecast to increase by a factor of 8.8.
By 2025, about 80 percent of all data traffic in the region will be over an LTE network.
It is also projected LTE will also be the main source of future revenue for operators.
According to Global System for Mobile Communications (GSMA) Intelligence, 2G and 3G users in sub-Saharan Africa will gradually migrate to 4G.
By 2025, the proportion of 2G users will drop from 46 percent to 12 percent.
– CAJ News