Inevitable 5g – will expand gambling markets- sub-Saharan Africa.

Digital transformation is well underway in SSA Africa; two in five people live in urban areas in the region, that amount to 40% of estimated 1 billion people.

According GSMA Intelligence, World Bank. This is evidenced via the emergence of recent digital service and programs transforming the manner people live and economic growth within the region. As a natural progression from preceding generations, 5G technology inside the region is a question of ‘when rather than if’. This view is supported by means of the GSMA 5G Market Readiness Index and the GSMA Intelligence 5G Survey, with indications that few countries, such as South Africa, Kenya and Nigeria, are moving quickly towards a state of readiness, which will become obvious closer to 2025.

However, the 5G era is not imminent for some markets as current technology are capable of supporting modern-day use cases and demand for mobile internet connectivity. Though, early this year in April 2019, MTN South Africa and Huawei lunched a 5G trial network at Kyalami Grand Prix Circuit and International Convention Centre in Johannesburg, South Africa the process is to evaluate the benefits that 5G connectivity could provide to customers, ahead of more advanced 5G use case.

Another country is MTN Nigeria two weeks ago the capital city Abuja hosted 5G network trial, first for any country in West Africa, the testing is powered by Huawei. Whilst, Lagos and Calabar are powered by ZTE and Ericsson respectively. Therefore, as of June 2019 4G adoption in Sub-Saharan Africa countries i.e. South Africa could be stated to have 23% connections to 4G while 90% 4G coverage in the country, followed by Kenya 10% are connected to 4G network whilst, 65% 4G coverage, Nigeria 6% are connected and 51% coverage, Cote d’Ivoire 10% connections and 47% coverage and while Tanzania 5% connections and 28% coverage has the lowest in the region, South Africa lead the way in terms of numbers of 4G connections in Sub-Saharan Africa. The total population connections on the average 9% are connected in SSA and 46% 4G adoption in the region. Whilst, commercial 5G adoption is projected to have 18% respondents by 2023, and 67% respondents after 2025 respectively, according to GSMA Intelligence.

However, the gambling market in SSA is growing at a fast pace with players now prefer the advent of placing bets via mobile phone in the region, compare to the conventional ways of placing bet via kiosk, Shops, bricks-mortar. With the inevitable 5G wireless communication promise to lower poor performance network, with improved speed compare to 4G network typically that have a download speed 20mbps 5G is expected to reach 500 to 1500 mbps that’s pretty much instant SSA is judiciously positioned to take advantage of this technology. With 5G network bettors will have the opportunity of accessing more betting markets i.e. Live streaming, Live betting in the region as this betting markets still have minimal patronage as well as expand bookies gambling revenue and improved customer service, improved customer experience, and financial service that is yet to achieve its full potentials in the region.

5G network will bring change in player’s behaviors and the current transformation of rapid growth of digital economy in the region, and whilst it is coupled with the prevalent of affordable smartphones across the region, and the high rate of internet penetration in the region. However, indeed cost of data could still be some challenges the industry still need to get rid of in some sections of the region the cost of buying data varies for example recently the Nigeria Communication Commission (NCC) direct all telecommunications companies to reduce the cost of buying data in the country, this is evident that some government are recognizing the impact of making internet affordable to youthful population, this move will bring rapid growth to the economy and whilst the gambling industry will also a benefit from this move in Nigeria. I believed other SSA countries in the region could learn from lowering the cost internet as this will improve the economic growth of the region.

Although, South Africa, Nigeria and Kenya still as the biggest gambling turnover in the region with an estimated of over $37 billion in 2018 according to pricewatercoopers (PWC). With inevitable 5G network, it is expected that the gambling generated revenue in the region to further increase across the region.
Though, across Sub-Saharan Africa, it is important that all stakeholders, including policy-makers mobile operators, bookmakers, approach the 5G opportunity in the region from a market readiness perspective.

Written by Adeleye Awakan

Associate/Editor Africa’s leading digital gaming magazine. For consultant on gaming in Africa, Bookmakers review, PR, Advertising, and Thoughtful leadership article contact: [email protected]

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