Experts advocate that expanding 5G will drive digital-led economic

  • Attendees at SAMENA Leaders’ Summit 2021 say 5G is now playing a vital role for consumer and industrial markets, proving its business and social value
  • While regulators have greatly promoted 5G development, more policies are needed to unleash its full potential

Lahore (Muhammad Yasir) Telecommunications leaders and experts from around the world recently gathered at the SAMENA Telecommunication Council Leaders’ Summit 2021 to review plans for putting today’s digital-led economy back on track. Held virtually due to social-distancing requirements, the summit was organized by the SAMENA Telecommunications Council, and hosted by Huawei for the eighth consecutive year. Held under the theme of ‘Championing Digital Economic Growth from Policy to Reality’, attendees exchanged insights about current technology, industrial, and economic development opportunities.

During the summit, Huawei emphasized the strategic importance of the region’s digital transformation, and that there are significant opportunities to enable more aggressive digitalization of all sectors and industries in support of national development visions and targets.

Charles Yang, President of Huawei Middle East, said: “As we enter the post-pandemic era, the economic recovery of the Middle East is the major target of today. At the same time, ICT is now recognized as the new engine of recovery and development, and together with our customers and partners will light up the future of the Middle East through technology innovations.”

“In particular, 5G is now a key enabler of the region’s digital economy. The technology is already playing a vital role for consumer and industrial markets proving its business and social value for the future digital economic growth in the Middle East. The number of 5G users has exceeded two million in just 19 months, twice as fast as 4G,” Yang added. “Many new smart cities have started to emerge in the Middle East, such as NEOM in Saudi Arabia. Such developments, alongside mega-events such as Expo 2020 and the FIFA World Cup 2022, will benefit greatly from investments in digital infrastructure like 5G. Growth-oriented, future-looking 5G policies, including the sustainable spectrum, fiber-to-site strategies, must be in place to drive investment and enable digital economic growth.”

A speaker at the summit, Anjian, President of Huawei Carrier Networks Business Group in the Middle East, also specified the importance of 5G experience benchmark. In GCC, 5G commercialization is moving fast. Although 5G has been deployed on a large scale, there are many opportunities to enhance user experience with better speed and less latency, especially for gaming and video users. This requires us to build a unified benchmark to evaluate comprehensive 5G experience, enabling operators to better focus on user experience, make precise investments, and improve overall ROI.

To that end, Huawei proposed the S.L.A (Speed, Latency and Availability) 5G experience benchmark model, this includes three main indices, Speed, Latency and Availability, which considers factors such as 5G spectrum bandwidth, download rate, E2E (End to End) delay, and coverage to evaluate 5G user experience. Operators can identify the experience problems and gaps based on the model, then make precise investments and improve the 5G user experience.

The SAMENA Telecommunication Council Leaders’ Summit comes at a time when the intrinsic value of 5G and other allied digital technologies are being assessed against the social and business values they create. During the pandemic, for example, it has been estimated that 88% of global organizations now encourage telecommuting and video conferencing, and more than 40% of Fortune 500 companies now promote online learning channels within their companies. Many industries such as shipping ports, coal mining, oil & gas have expressed greater needs for digital transformation. This demonstrates the importance and necessity of industry digital transformation not only for commercial reasons but also for health and safety and sustainability. Enhanced ICT infrastructure is the cornerstone to meet the digital needs of individuals, households, industries, and for digital economic growth.