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The Forecast for 5G in Africa

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5G is the next generation of wireless technology. The rollout across the globe is slow. The promise hasn’t been met yet. While plenty of cities across the United States of America, South Korea, and the United Kingdom have 5G installed, not all of the inhabitants have 5G-ready hardware. Even if they did, they will likely not experience the superfast downloads. The UK’s 5G, for instance, is faster than some but roughly four-times slower than others around the world. There are still vast growing pains.

Additionally, there have been complaints by those using it. Residents using the latest iPhone 12 or other 5G-ready handsets are noticing that their battery is draining. This is because phones still rely on 3G or 4G to make phone calls, and, in some areas, 3G or 4G is faster than 5G. Therefore, handsets are having to process a lot of changes and adaptations, rather than sticking to one service, which is causing battery loss. These same issues could cause problems for African citizens.

5G Now

Right now, in Africa, only Lesotho and South Africa have 5G running. There are trials being undertaken in Nigeria, Gabon, Uganda, and Kenya, with Ethiopia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Tanzania looking likely to be next. When Ghana, Côte d’Ivoire, Morocco, Egypt, and other major African countries will expect to install 5G is unknown. Egypt is currently in the middle of a fight between the United States of America and China, as both countries try to lay claim to providing support and hardware.

3G and 4G networks have been upgraded in recent years in lots of places on the continent but there is still much more to do. There are many towns and villages without access to strong data or internet services. 5G will account for very low percent of connections for most of the next decade, experts believe, as the continent attempts to raise the minimum infrastructural standard.

Why Is 5G Important?

5G is said to hold the key to many future technologies. It underpins essential functions. 

Let’s start with the consumer. One headline, sound-bite phrase which is used to pitch 5G is that 4K films will be downloaded on 5G in under a minute. This signals that the entertainment side of smartphones will receive a huge boost. Load times for social media, browsers, and buffering for streaming will all reduce. Everything will be smoother. Mobile gamers are impacted by this too. They will be able to play PUBG or Arena of Valor or online slots, blackjack or even more with a fluidity they haven’t experienced before. 

5G will likely see the edge computing become more of a reality too, which will benefit gamers. Edge computing is a technology which means that all the rendering and processing is accomplished external to a smartphone on the network. This will naturally speed things up because the data isn’t being transferred back to a data center and then returned to a handset. 5G will improve the network’s processing ability and lower the latency. All this bodes well for gamers.

Other technology like autonomous vehicles will depend on 5G. It is ideal for autonomous vehicles to be connected to as many cars as possible. Therefore, operating on a network, rather than on a vehicle-to-vehicle basis, is desirable. The more a vehicle knows about its surroundings the safer and more secure it is likely to be. 5G will be able to cope with and effectively transfer the large amounts of connections and data.

5G in Africa

Africa is a very mobile-heavy continent. The hardware is far more affordable, and is often more flexible than desktops, laptops, and tablets. A smartphone can accomplish the essential functions it needs to from anywhere, at any time, in any position. 5G’s implementation, whether it is in the next few years or towards the end of the decade, will likely help African nations push their economies forward drastically. The more connected everyone is and the faster that it is – only good things can happen.

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