Ethio Telecom, the state-owned telecoms provider in Ethiopia, launched 5G cellular service on Monday, making Ethiopia one of the few African countries, including Kenya in East Africa, to roll out the technology.
According to Ethio Telecom, it will The network will be available in hotspot areas in the capital, Addis Ababa, including around Ethio Telecom’s headquarters and on the premises of Bole International Airport, before expanding to other parts of the country.
” 5G service will be rolled out at select locations in Addis Ababa,” announced Frehiwot Tamru, CEO of Ethio Telecom, during a launch ceremony.
“In the coming 12 months, we will have 150 5G locations in Addis Ababa and in major cities outside the capital.”
5G commercial networks have been rolled out in key countries such as Botswana, South Africa, the Seychelles, Mauritius and Zimbabwe, but the technology is still largely underdeveloped in larger ones rdeveloped parts of Africa.
The East African has learned that Ethiopia has paid about $40 million to Chinese company Huawei to provide the network.
Ethiopia, Africa’s second most populous country, led the third generation (3G) and fourth generation (4G) in 2007 and 2015 respectively.
At the East Africa Com event, which opens practically on May 10th It was announced that 5G connectivity is on the rise in Africa but still lags behind 3G and 4G networks.
Despite expected growth over the next five years, according to Thecla Mbongue, Senior ICT Research Analyst at Omdia, 5G subscriptions in Africa will not exceed 20 million by 2026.
Omdia is a research and advisory group.
Ms Mbongue says that 5G will account for less than 10% of the continent’s mobile usage by 2025.
During the virtue Speaking at the event, Kenechi Okeleke, director of social and regional research at the Global System for Mobile Communications Association (GSMA), said Kenya was working to deploy the network.
Mobile Network operator Safaricom launched its 5G network in March 2021 and piloted the technology in four cities with plans to expand it to others.
“Perhaps next year we could see full commercial 5G services in Kenya,” the research leader said.< /p>
Omdia forecasts that the number of 5G mobile subscriptions in Kenya will increase from 1.1 million at the end of 2022 to 12.8 million by 2026.
“The strong growth will be supported by demand for high-speed, low-latency broadband services in key sectors of the economy including healthcare, education, agriculture, manufacturing, mining, construction, smart city, and transportation and tourism,” said Omdia.
Describing 5G growth in Africa a As “a mixed bag,” Mr. Okeleke noted that the Covid pandemic has demonstrated the need for improved connectivity and increased demand for connectivity.
“Actual network rollouts have been slow; We haven’t seen the number of deployments we would have liked,” he added.
At the event, experts noted that the East African economy would benefit greatly from the advances that 5G would bring to multiple sectors including in agriculture, and urged governments to support 5G infrastructure projects.
The 5G network is currently the fastest and most resilient technology the world has ever seen.
The network offers higher data transfer speed up to 100 times faster than 4G.