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5G set to attract 130m MENA subscribers by 2026

December 16, 2020

JEDDAH: Around 130 million mobile phone users in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region will be subscribed to a 5G network by 2026, making up 15 percent of overall users, according to new estimates published this week.

In a recent report published by Ericsson Mobility, time is of the essence in acquiring the necessary licensing when it comes to 4G and 5G connectivity, as demand continues to rise.

By the end of 2020, subscription rates are expected to reach 1.4 million in Gulf countries, only a year after 5G deployment began in the MENA region as a whole.

The report indicated that the region is set to witness a sevenfold increase in its data consumption in the coming five years, with a single consumer going through 30GBs worth of data every month.

“This report highlights the fundamental need for good connectivity as a cornerstone for this change as the demand for capacity and coverage of cellular networks continues to grow,” Fadi Pharaon, president of Ericsson Middle East and Africa, said.

“Investing in network infrastructure and optimizing spectrum assignments to deliver expansive 5G connectivity are critical requirements to consider in this journey to herald a new era of end-user applications and devices,” he added.

Long-Term Evolution (LTE), the standard for wireless broadband communication for mobile devices, is set to take over 50 percent of the region’s data transmission by 2026, with it already attracting 30 percent of MENA subscribers by the end of 2020.

Meanwhile, mobile broadband subscribers are expected to account for 80 percent of total subscribers by 2026, with subscriptions this year expected to hit 65 million, in spite of limited connectivity in the MENA region.