There are significant business opportunities in the mobile-broadband space in building an ecosystem of affordable mobile devices to support user migration to 4G and 5G cellular network technology.
This was the message emerging from the fifth Huawei Africa Mobile Broadband Salon that took place at the online Africacom Africa Tech Festival from 9-12 November.
Delegates heard that the information and communication technology industry had never been more important to society, and that it was now at the forefront of social development and restoring economies affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Connectivity is the foundation for digital transformation, according to a facilitator at the event, Vice President of Huawei Carrier Business Marketing and Solutions, Mohamed Madkour.
The event heard that the number of 4G users in Africa was expected to triple in the next five years, with population coverage increasing from 55 per cent today to 80 per cent in 2025.
Universal connectivity in Africa needed proactive collaboration from all stakeholders to develop profitable businesses and also encourage investment, said Madkour.
Overseas Business Development Director for one of the semiconductor maker, Roy Zheng, said that since the pandemic, the demand for education tablets had exploded. To meet this demand, his company was producing chipsets that enable the production of tablets priced from $48.
Also speaking at the event, Chief Executive Officer of smartphone and tablet maker Tele 1, Lin Ranhao, said during the coming years, the fastest growth of the 4G user base was likely to come from Africa.
Ranhao said Africa had many 2G users waiting to switch to 4G, but that despite ready infrastructure, 4G penetration was still relatively slow. Suggesting ways to resolve this, Ranhao drew an analogy with China, which was encouraging the production and purchase of electric vehicles through subsidies.
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