Africa cannot leapfrog to 5G without first making cities fit for 4G
Urban African telecoms is still full of challenges and opportunities, but discussion of leapfrogging to 5G is short-sighted when so many challenges remain in Africa’s cities
Sub-Saharan Africa is the world’s fastest urbanising region. Urban areas currently contain 472mn people, a figure which will double over the next 25 years (Centre for Strategic & International Studies, 2019). TowerXchange Meetup Africa featured a panel discussion and a number of roundtables looking at how urban infrastructure would evolve in Africa with the introduction of 4G and preparations for 5G. Lars Stuber, Founder of Smallcell moderated our panel with Nic Naidu of Vodacom, Marco Xu of Huawei, Lawrence Boya of Johannesburg City Municipality and Vinay Chaudhry of Tangerine, a Ugandan ISP.
Urban connectivity in Africa
For the last ten years, towercos have played a crucial and growing role in connecting Africa’s swelling urban population through macro sites, leveraging backup diesel generators and microwave backhaul.