Africa is still a growth market for 4G, yet some operators are struggling to deliver adequate speeds to consumers across the continent

While 4G network penetration is growing across the continent of Africa, consumers are finding that download speeds are leaving some subscribers decidedly underwhelmed, according to a new industry report.

OpenSignal’s Mobile Experience in Africa report highlights the fact that average download speeds on Africa’s 4G networks vary greatly from country to country.

Users in South Africa, Morocco and Senegal, all experienced 4G network penetration levels in excess of 70 per cent. However, the average speed on these 4G networks were starkly different – with subscribers in South Africa experiencing speeds of 14.4Mbps, while in Senegal the average speed was just 4.4Mbps.

"Africa is notable for being a mobile growth market for operators, vendors and for consumers where Europe and North America have stalled. Across Africa 4G is still being rolled out. Many users continue to have smartphones capable of only 3G, either because the smartphone hardware is less capable, or because their SIM card is 3G-only. The sheer size of African countries combined with low population densities also means rural areas still often have only a 3G network experience available for 4G smartphone owners," said OpenSignal’s VP for analysis, Ian Fogg.

OpenSignal attributed the stark difference in speed to the limited capacity of cell site backhaul solutions and a lack of fibre backbone on the continent’s 4G networks.

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