West African mobile telecoms subscribers to hit 72 million in 2025

The mobile telecoms subscriber base in West Africa is expected to rise to 72 million, taking penetration in the sub-region to 45%.

These are the future mobile telecoms trends predicted by the GSMA association in its report titled –The mobile economy West Africa 2018.

“The transition to mobile broadband is gaining momentum across West Africa. 3G remains the dominant mobile broadband technology, but 4G adoption is rising rapidly from network expansion and greater availability of 4G devices,” the report said.

“The number of smartphone connections has more than doubled over the last two years to reach 112 million, accounting for 35% of total connections on average at the end of 2017.”

The GSMA report also noted that there were 176 million unique subscribers across the 15 member states of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

Overall subscriber penetration reached 47% in 2017, up from 28% at the start of this decade.

“Despite the remarkable subscriber growth in the sub-region in recent years, and indeed across Sub-Saharan Africa, more than half of the region’s population do not yet subscribe to a mobile service.

In 2017, the mobile ecosystem contributed $37 billion, equivalent to 6.5% of GDP, to the West African economy.”

The mobile ecosystem consists of mobile operators, infrastructure service providers, retailers and distributors of mobile products and services, mobile handset manufacturers, and mobile content, application and service providers.

“In 2017 alone, the mobile economy provided more than 200,000 jobs in West Africa, predominantly in the retailing and distribution of services and handsets.

“But by 2022, the mobile economy would contribute $51 billion to the West African economy, equivalent to 7.7% of GDP,” it stated.