5G network, with the combination of IoT, big data and AI, plays a critical role in enabling ‘intelligent connectivity’ to empower industries and societies, GSMA director-general said.
Speaking at the Mobile 360 Mena event taking place in Dubai, Mats Granryd said that studies have shown that a 10% increase in internet penetration will give 2% rise to economic growth.
“These technologies will transform the way we work, we live and the way we do business. 5G, combined with edge computing for low latency, will create new revenue streams for telecom operators and will be used to tackle loneliness and other mental health-related issues using hologram and VR/AR,” he said.
Khalifa Al Shamsi, Group Chief Corporate Strategy and Governance Officer at Etisalat, said that 5G technology, today, is way beyond connectivity and it is a revolution that will put mobile at the heart of the digital continent, enabling new demanding services across industry verticals that were not possible before.
“Telecom infrastructure is the foundation underpinning the digital world. It provides connectivity while enabling limitless solutions and applications on top. Traditionally, telecom operators’ role was confined within the communication layer, something that has drastically changed as operators are actively hunting for sweet spots within the new digital ecosystem,” he said.
Moreover, he said that the combination of 5G, AI and IoT will form a mesh of intelligent connectivity, a new era, with huge potential to transform industries, enhance the experience, maximise productivity and impact societies.
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Partnerships needed in value creation
“The rollout of 5G will accelerate, starting from 2020, and many of the desired benefits will materialise gradually, the focus should be on verticals that can create value in the short term to create return and fund further 5G investments. About $4.3tr in value is expected to be unlocked through identified use cases,” Al Shamsi said.
The key drives of value for 5G are latency, reliability, capacity, bandwidth and efficiency, he said.
“As a telecom operator, we have to understand the challenges of each vertical and what are the use cases that 5G will provide to the sector. So, it is a time of partnerships in the value creation,” he said.
For the Mena region in specific, he said that intelligent connectivity is expected to drive huge growth in the economy by creating value across most industries.
Quoting industry reports, he said that intelligent connectivity is expected to contribute $96b to the UAE economy and $135b to the Saudi economy by 2030.
However, he said that operators are expected to capture a sizeable portion from the total 5G-enabled revenues across the value chain through connectivity and beyond.
“In the MEA, telco’s share of total 5G-enabled revenues in 2030 is expected to be close to $100b. To unlock this massive economic potential, each of us – policymakers, industry bodies, operators, vendors and businesses - have a role to play,” he said.