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5G is Key to Africa’s Business Success, Experts Urge

On the sidelines of the AfricaCom, Huawei held the Africa 5G Summit under the theme "5G Lights Up Africa Together Towards Business Success.

On the sidelines of the AfricaCom, Huawei Technologies Co., Ltd held their annual Africa 5G Summit to discuss the importance of 5G to Africa’s business success.

The summit brought together industry leaders, regional government regulators, and representatives from industry organizations to share their 5G development strategies and industry experience.

Held under the theme “5G Lights Up Africa Together Towards Business Success” among the topics discussed at the summit were; how operators in Southern Africa can continuously build value-added networks for 5G, how they can improve the 5G network experience, accelerate fixed wireless access (FWA) industry development, and achieve 5G business success.

Richard Liu, President of the Global Carrier Marketing and Solution Sales Dept of Huawei in his keynote speech titled, “Dream Africa’s 5G Prosperity, Build an Inclusive Digital Cornerstone” called for continuous localized innovation in Africa and for players across the sector to work together to build a digital Africa.

“The remarkable intergenerational capabilities of 5G networks are accelerating the development of the ICT industry, and also stimulating huge innovation momentum, changing our lives and society,” remarked Liu.

Liu explaining how global operators with a firm 5G strategy have achieved business success said, “To achieve Africa’s 5G prosperity dream, it is recommended to build a digital Africa via three inclusive innovations: ecosystems, services, and networks.” Adding, “These innovations can be achieved by maturing the 5G terminal ecosystem, developing FWA services and building a 4G/5G synergy network, building a solid digital foundation of Africa.”

Thabisa Faye, Director and Chairman of the 5G Council Committee of the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) in her insightful speech on the value of spectrum in Africa said, “3.6 million jobs is what they say can be derived out of the mobile industry, either directly or indirectly.” Adding “When we look quite closely at the African scenario and more specifically the sub-Saharan region, we can see that traffic has grown quite significantly.”

Experts share company’s POV on 5G

Zoltan Miklos, General Manager of Access and Architecture, MTN South Africa, shared the telco’s Ambition 2025 development strategy for the mobile network. He pointed out that 5G is the key strength to overcoming macro and industry context and the core of their Ambition 2025 strategy.

MTN South Africa will adopt digital solutions that lead Africa’s progress, and strive to build the best 5G network and provide excellent user experience. In particular, Miklos pointed to the need to create solutions that cater to the lived reality of African customers.

“If you look at the 5G system, a large proportion of users are on post-paid,” Miklos said. “What’s quite important and what we’ve done is we don’t limit 5G between prepaid and post-paid. From a network perspective, every user on this network is provisioned for 5G.”

James Langat, Director of regional network implementation and operations at Safaricom PLC, delivered a speech introducing Safaricom’s wireless home broadband strategy and also spoke about the opportunities that 5G offers.

“The first opportunity, of course, is that we deliver 5G MBB (mobile broadband) to our users and we have a growing number of our users adopting 5G,” he said.

Alan Loh, Executive General Manager of Innovative Solutions at Zain Saudi Arabia, shared the company’s 5G business success — explaining that Zain has become a global leader in 5G FWA by focusing on three core areas: services, network experience, and technologies in the 5G era.

Abdul Malik Ahmed, Senior Manager of the Fixed Broadband Marketing Department of MTN Nigeria, shared MTN Nigeria’s “Own THE HOME” wireless home broadband strategy which he said will continue to develop 4G/5G FWA and FTTH services to win home broadband customers. MTN Nigeria, he added, will continue to enable Nigeria’s future digital transformation through 5G.

Calvin Govender, EBU General Manager of MTN South Africa delivering his keynote speech entitled, “5G Accelerating Digital Transformation in South Africa” outlined how transformative 5G is across the entire value chain, including for consumers.

“5G looks at a rich experience across the segments,” he said. “At a consumer level, you’ll feel the 5G speed. You’ll be able to unlock applications and services that you could not do on the 4G network.”

While ending the summit, Kenechi Okeleke, Regional, Social, and Policy Research Director of GSMA Intelligence, shared insights on the future development trends and opportunities of 5G FWA services in Africa — and released White Paper titled “5G FWA in Africa, Emerging Trends and Opportunities by the GSMA Intelligence.

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