Could 5G Push Africa’s Digital Frontier?

The African continent contains many countries that are embarking on their own digital frontier as it has quickly become a hub for  tech startups and emerging media, with some even being dubbed the silicon valley of Africa, and for many of the drawbacks and challenges that have to be overcome, but also a great number of benefits very unique to the region. 

One of these many benefits is within the developing infrastructure that allows for rapid change in a constantly evolving market – which may be seen with the introduction of the next stage of networking in 5G. This is something that has actually been a challenge for some in the west as a larger scale rollout of the next step in networking will take some time, the existing infrastructure needs to be adjusted and changed before fully available to all users, especially those a little out of the way – but this isn’t something that is so limiting in a still developing infrastructure as changes can be made quickly and implemented in a much wider scale. A fast rollout here could be the catalyst to combat typically slow or limited speeds as well as limited connection by offering a wider band and faster speeds, but there are still challenges too.

One of the challenges may be seen through availability in devices – new flagship models have broken the four digit barrier as many are now over $1,000 and as such finding a 5G ready device that’s affordable may be very difficult, as a large part of the market still relies on second hand devices which may only been 12 months old, many  are not yet equipped for the new network and so users may have to wait a little longer before they’re able to get their hands on a compatible device, whilst this does allow time for infrastructure to be put in place, it does cause a big delay for users in general. There’s also the matter of data costs which still remain high across many regions of Africa, if infrastructure is in place and many have capable devices they still may not be able to access the next step in networking largely due to high costs and so the next step may be to push efforts for costs to come down and make it more widely available where possible.

We’re already seeing a big digital shift in many African countries however, one area in particular that has seen a big shift is within mobile gaming as it has become more available to more users similarly to what is being seen in the rest of the world, with one of many benefits being the lack of any regulation such as Gamstop found elsewhere aimed at reducing options for players to play on, but for both Africa and regions elsewhere there are a growing number of sites avoiding these restrictions and being available for all players and here you’ll find those betting sites and online gaming services – it’s an exciting time for a digital shift in Africa, however, as it’s likely in the next five years we could see a huge push for digital in what could become the fastest growing market in the world.