The adoption of 5G networks in Africa is on the rise, with South Africa leading the way, according to a new report by TeleGeography, a Washington-based telecom market research and consulting firm

The report, which tracked 5G deployments in the Middle East and Africa (MEA), found that as of March 2023, 18 countries in the region now offer commercial 5G services, with 10 of those located in Africa.

The report states that South Africa has made significant progress in deploying the 5G network, with an estimated five million subscriptions at the end of 2022. Rain, the country’s data-only network provider, became Africa's first telco to deploy the network commercially in September 2019.

Other major players in South Africa's 5G market include Vodacom and MTN, which launched their commercial 5G networks in 2020.

Other African countries that have launched 5G services include Botswana, Nigeria, Tanzania, and Zambia. The report highlights Saudi Arabia as the leader in the MEA market with over 11.2 million users at the end of 2022, representing over a quarter of the mobile sector.

This Techloy table below shows how the rest of Africa stands in the 5G race.