4G/LTE in Africa: number of subscribers, launches, trends and projects (May 2017)

Telecoms and Internet Reports

Document type: 1 Excel Spreadsheet, 1 PDF document (34 pages)
Availability: available
Publication date: 1 May 2017
Number of pages:

Price: £500.00

This report offers invaluably detailed and updated information on the state of play with 4G-LTE launches and projects across the continent.



Using a range of information, this piece of research compiled into an excel spreadsheet and a PDF looks at several areas: 

1) the list of 4G/LTE services launches, pilot tests and upcoming projects by country

2) the list of operators launching 4G/LTE services by country;

3) 4G LTE launch dates

4) in each country, the approximate number of 4G subscribers by operator (estimates or confirmed data)

and where data is available, 


Coverage: 54 countries in Africa + Reunion.

Research period: 2015 to May 2017.

This excel spreadsheet is a working tool enabling to add cells and updates. After May 2017, it is available on demand within 14 working days so that we can supply the most recent updates.

It took over 2 years for 2 analysts, several interviews and trips across the African continent to track the market and produce this report's update.


Table of contents



1. The mobile market in Africa: KPI, market review

2. 4G launches across Africa

Box 1: 4G LTE subscribers - comparison with countries outside of Africa

2.1 Smartphones’ adoption in Africa in relation to 4G

2.2 Mobile access issues in Africa

2.3 Solution to mobile access issues in Africa

3. Positive impact, benefits and opportunities of mobile broadband

Box 2: Jumia believes that e-commerce exploded across Africa

4. Strategies to win 4G clients fast

5. Outlook for 4G-LTE in Africa – 2018 to 2020



About the authors

List of tables, boxes and charts:

Table 1: Mobile in Africa - State of play - KPI
Table 2: 4G LTE in Africa - State of play - KPI (April 2017)
Table 3: 4G LTE in Africa – Number of launches by country per key operator
Box 1: 4G LTE subscribers - comparison with countries outside of Africa
Table 5: Number of 4G subscribers in countries outside of Africa - examples
Table 6: Mobile phones’ adoption in Africa – KPI
Chart 1: Total Smartphone in Africa and the Middle East (2015-18)
Table 7: Mobile phones’ brands in Africa – KPI
Chart 2: Important factor for African mobile operators’ success
Chart 3: Churn as factor for African mobile operators’ success
Chart 4: Main factors to limited 4G LTE service usage
Chart 5: Biggest inhibitors to 4G LTE service uptake
Table 8: factors for African mobile operators’ success
Chart 6: Biggest challenges for mobile operators
Chart 7: New opportunities for consumers and mobile operators - 3G vs. 4G
Chart 8: New business sectors for African mobile operators
Box 2: Jumia believes that e-commerce exploded across Africa


Terms of payment:

Full payment in advance with a Visa card online or via bank transfer (pro forma invoice supplied).

The report's electronic files will be delivered on the same business day via email once payment fees have been received.


Who should read this report?

CEOs, CFOs, Heads of Strategy and M&A from telecoms companies, startups, infrastructure owners and equipment providers, regulators andgovernments' advisers, telecoms, media and technology sector heads from investment banks, investors, financiers and advisers and other decision makers in the African TMT sectors.

Why should you read this report?

The report will save months of research time, cut costs and is essential reading for anyone involved, or planning to engage in the African telecoms sectors. Executives trying to identify who/where the existing and upcoming 4G investments opportunities are in Africa will find key answers in this piece of research. The report is part of basic market intelligence for professionals active in African regions.


Discount: If you are a freelancer, from a small company in Africa or if your organization has a partnership with us, you may be eligible for a large discount. Call us to find out.

Special price until the end of July 2017 GBP500 (instead of GBP980)


Main authors: Sylvain Béletre | Russell Southwood | Hilton Goodhead.

Written in partnership with DigiTata (South Africa).


Press release - 12 May 2017

Africa: 102 mobile operators have launched 4G-LTE services in 43 countries, says new report.

Balancing Act has finalized its report on 4G/LTE network rollouts in Africa. 43 countries in Africa have some kind of 4G/LTE coverage. The 4th mobile generation will affect the lives of Africa’s citizens, and how business will be carried out. 

After 2G and 3G, the first 4G tests started in 2010-2011 in a few African countries. For example, in Nigeria, Glo Mobile/Globacom piloted LTE in 2011. The first operator to officially launch 4G in Africa was Angola Telecom / Movicel in April 2012. The most recent operator launching 4G/LTE is Gambian QCell, which rolled out across the Greater Banjul area in May 2017. Until now, the majority of 4G LTE launches in Africa have taken place in the 2015-2016 period but this is just the beginning of a key shift in what operators can offer in terms of data speeds.

Some facts and trends from the report:

According to our estimates, the total number of 4G LTE subscribers in Africa in April 2017 has reached around 20 million (out of 1.2 billion inhabitants), a penetration rate of above 1%. 4G has seen continuous growth across Africa: On January 1st., 2016, Balancing Act confirmed that 4G-LTE had been launched in 24 African countries. In mid-2016, there were 72 LTE 4G services in 32 countries across Africa.

On 12th. May 2017, Balancing Act confirms that 102 mobile operators have launched 4G/LTE services in 43 African countries, mainly in large cities. At least another 88 mobile operators in Africa plan to launch 4G in the next two years. Altogether, 190 mobile operators have officially announced 4G plans in Africa today.

The two most active mobile operators in this segment across Africa are MTN and Orange: MTN had launched 4G in 11 countries, while Orange made 4G services available in 10 countries by the end of December 2016.

The adoption of 4G by African citizens and businesses is at an embryonic stage, but it will be followed by strong growth, mirroring the upsurge in 3G. The current 4G LTE subscriber base is still weak as Africa accounts for less than 1% of the global 4G base. Approximately 50% of mobile subscriptions in Africa are actively using data - but less than 2% of this user base is using 4G devices. Nevertheless, 4G adoption will explode in the years to come and should reach around 50% within the next 2 years.

Government’s action can accelerate or slow down the pace of 4G launches. Suppliers' support is also an important factor in the early launch of 4G-LTE. In particular, the availability and the price of mobile devices emerge as major factors favouring the general deployment of 4G LTE networks.

There are many possibilities for developing content and mobile applications on broadband networks in Africa, the key question is : will local communities adopt them? Will those apps find the right business models to survive?

Except in a few cases, mobile operators in Africa do not publish 4G subscriber numbers for now, and this lack of data may slow down investment in the market.



Special price from June until end of July 2017 (GBP 980.00 after that period).

Price: £500.00

Please note that you will be able to choose the currency you want to pay in when you reach the payment stage. The total amount of your order will be automatically recalculated in the currency that you have selected.