MAPPING THE ECOSYSTEM FOR 5G AND IOT IN AFRICA
Here's what you should know about expectations for 5G and IoT in Africa.
Africans are much more positive about 5G's transformative potential than many other continents. But what does the ecosystem look like?
It is clear that it will take more time to convince businesses outside of Africa of the transformational potential of 5G. Globally, about 71% of businesses think 5G will have a moderate or transformational impact. But we are seeing the number of 5G enterprise deals and partnerships growing.
In sharp contrast, African businesses are big believers in the potential 5G has to radically transform their business operations, products, services, and customer engagement. Research firm Omdia believes this result showcases a willingness among African organizations to embrace new technologies. Translating this into uptake is the challenge.
Large South African enterprises are “behind” their global peers.
African businesses are keen on 5G, but IoT is undoubtedly not one of the applications Omdia anticipates will drive 5G uptake in an African context.
In much of the world, 5G is seen as a catalyst for massive machine-type communications and exponential growth in machine-to-machine connectivity. With this in mind, will 5G and IoT dovetail in Africa and stimulate the uptake of 5G services? Quite simply, no.
Only 16% of IoT revenue is accounted for by connectivity. The game is elsewhere: platform, applications, integration, and management. The results of an Omdia enterprise survey of South African firms in 2020 revealed that they are 31% less likely than their global peers to have an IoT system in active deployment or at the rollout stage. 42% of firms in Africa claim no IoT plans against a global average of 30%. So why is this the case?
The challenges of IoT deployment in South Africa
When asked, despite what they claim, many enterprises do not understand the full potential of IoT, 5G, let alone 5G IoT. Also, security and reliability issues trump concerns around tech maturity.
Omdia's research highlighted significant barriers to IoT deployment in Africa. The data reveals that security, poor network quality, and lack of available expertise are hampering digitalization.
Businesses are looking for transformation first, but for technology that enables it second.