2019 saw 5G being spoken about at length, but offered little in terms of enhanced connectivity for the everyday consumer, especially here in South Africa. That’s predicted to change in 2020, and Ericsson wants to be one of the key players in helping that happen.

It is also the work that the firm did last year that will make its 2020 plans a reality. Explaining this process is Chafic Traboulsi, head of Networks for Ericsson Middle East and Africa. 

“During 2019, Ericsson Middle East and Africa announced seven commercial 5G agreements with operators in different countries: Etisalat UAE, Ooredoo Qatar, STC Saudi Arabia, Zain Bahrain, Batelco Bahrain, MTN South Africa and Mobily,” he notes.

“On a global level, to date, Ericsson signed 78 commercial 5G agreements or contracts with unique operators, of which 24 are live networks with Middle East and Africa region contributing to around 29%,” adds Traboulsi. 

Ericsson believes those agreements now being in place has helped the firm create better offerings on the 5G side of things, as well as strengthen its existing 4G networks.

The firm also believes, like many other service providers, that 5G will bring with it a wealth of opportunity when it comes to mixed reality experiences, along with industrial automation. This as these kinds of technologies are high speed and low latency dependent.

“The benefits of 5G’s high speeds, low latency, and superior reliability will make a real difference. Preparing for these 5G opportunities is a must for service providers,” says Traboulsi.

“In fact, service providers in the MENA [Middle East and North Africa] region can target a potential revenue opportunity from USD 15.18 billion to USD 45.91 billion by 2030 provided they adapt their business model to become service enablers and creators,” he continues.

As personal and commercial 5G began to roll out in some parts during 2019, Ericsson says that with these networks up and running the next wave will see 5G expand to the business sphere and in particular allow for more mobility, flexibility, reliability, and security.

Consequently it will take IoT and industrial applications to new levels, according to the firm.

“Industry digitalisation opens new opportunities for service providers to build and extend their businesses beyond connectivity. The 5G-IoT landscape offers enormous potential but is complex to navigate and demands a comprehensive understanding of the different driving forces and barriers for different industries in focus,” Traboulsi points out.

“The probability to be successful in capturing parts of this potential is higher in the next 5-7 years when roles and market shares are established rather than later. First mover’s advantage is clear. Addressing these opportunities could enable service providers to unlock additional revenue streams of up to 35 percent, on top of the current scope of business by 2030,” he predicts.

Zeroing in on Ericsson’s offerings, the exec highlights the firm’s standalone 5G solutions, which ensure super-fast response times, as well as the futureproofing of the network architecture and opening up new service creation opportunities.

“The new solutions extend network capacity and capability, enabling smooth network evolution, and facilitating new consumer and industry use cases,” he concludes.

While this is indeed exciting, and the prospect of 5G’s potential is too strong to ignore, sitting at the most Southern part of the continent makes the wait anxious. With Ericsson involved and partnering with the likes of MTN, hopefully the wait won’t be much longer for local consumers and businesses.

[Image – Photo by Clodagh Da Paixao on Unsplash]