How 5G is Ushering in a New Era for Businesses in UAE

5G technology in UAE & MENA
An illuminated 5G sign hangs behind a weave of electronic cables on the opening day of the MWC Barcelona in Barcelona, Spain, on Monday, Feb. 25, 2019. At the wireless industry’s biggest conference, over 100,000 people are set to see the latest innovations in smartphones, artificial intelligence devices and autonomous drones exhibited by more than 2,400 companies. Photographer: Angel Garcia/Bloomberg

The wait for 5G ended in UAE when the telecom leader Etisalat launched the country’s first 5G-enabled smartphone ZTE Axon Pro10, on June 4. With speed of up to 1Gbps and lower latency of about one millisecond, the device lets users stream live 4K resolution video with virtually no lag.

Shortly after Etisalat’s launch, another telecom service provider du gave away the free 5G-enabled smartphones to the customers who pre-registered for it. The company will be delivering more options to UAE citizens with 5G-ready devices in the coming weeks.

It’s no surprise that in less time 5G-enabled network and devices are going to be all over the place with its amazing range of features and benefits. The next generation of technology, 5G has already garnered likes of big companies all over UAE and MENA region, and companies are ready to reap the benefits of new technology.

Multiple 5G Use Cases

In the enterprise space, there is broad agreement among MENA operators on the key industries where 5G can deliver the greatest long-term value, revealed the 2019 5G in MENA report by GSMA Intelligence. These include entertainment, logistics, automotive, smart cities and energy & utilities. Governments and operators, including du, Etisalat, Omantel, Ooredoo, STC, Turkcell, Turk Telekom, Vodafone and Zain, have collaborated on smart city initiatives to address population-related challenges and deliver socioeconomic benefits, said the report.  

James Robinson, senior analyst of GSMA Intelligence, said, “The advanced capabilities of 5G will support a range of innovative applications, which will not only enhance consumers’ mobile experience but also advance the digitization of traditional industries, including utilities, mining and possibly tourism, creating new opportunities and exposing potential revenue streams.”

5G will have a positive impact in traditional industries, such as agriculture, said Kenichi Okeleke, senior manager of Middle East and Africa at GSMA Intelligence. “As farmers around the world turn to precision agriculture or ‘smart farming’, 5G could play a central role in enabling key applications for crop and livestock monitoring, tracking and process automation, given its capacity to facilitate data transmission between large amounts of devices in real-time,” he added.  

“Across the region, there is a growing shift towards cloud computing and virtualisation. With the faster speeds and lower latency that 5G provides, employees can communicate more effectively and efficiently, leading to increased productivity for businesses,” he said.

Like other groundbreaking technologies before it, 5G promises to unleash a wave of innovative new startups and services we can’t foresee.

However, according to report, the MENA operators are also expected to face strong competition from incumbent cloud-computing companies, including Amazon and Microsoft, who are targeting similar opportunities to support the digitisation of companies, with several advantages such as global scale and lighter regulatory rules.

A new era of IoT+5G

Apart from the 20 times faster than 4G speed, 5G is also the network of networks. It allows multiple devices to be connected in one go, which could be a game-changer for Internet of Things (IoT) space. According to a 2019 Ericsson report, its unique combination of high-speed connectivity, very low latency, and ubiquitous coverage will enable users to control more devices remotely in applications where real-time network performance is critical. This could be beneficial in many different ways to sectors like healthcare, logistics, ecommerce, smart vehicles and transport infrastructure etc.

Logix Grid, who is recently expanding operations in UAE and Saudi, said the 5G will change the way we track our orders, manage operations and much more. The founder and director, Gurcharan Singh said, “We feel there are a lot of opportunities coming into this area. We want the better data reach to detect the live location of products being sent from one place to another. 5G is the only medium through which we will be able to provide the live feed to our customers or vendors.”

The company claims to be the first logistics company after Google in India to launch smart glass to track orders for vendors.

Singh added, “We are more interested in 5G based on its speed. We are able to transmit larger amount of data, which with 4G we always had a limitation. Also, 5G allows networking with a lot more devices compared to 4G. Today, in the age of IOT, 5G will bring a transformational change.”

Reiterating the same, Okeleke said, “5G will serve as an enabler to use cases for massive IoT and ultra-reliable, low-latency communications. While LTE networks currently support early adoption of IoT solutions for enterprises (and will remain an important technology for some time to come), 5G network capabilities have the potential to drive future developments and larger scale adoption across industries, as evidenced by the following trends in the Middle East,” he added.

Further explaining on this, Okeleke emphasized that IoT momentum is particularly visible in smart cities and 5G will play a central role in enabling key solutions. “It is also going to serve a key support to the next phase of enterprise digitisation and will drive greater adoption of IoT in different sectors, particularly industrial IoT applications,” he added.

As the combination of the fifth generation technology and IoT is expected to bring a transformational change, the technology will help companies enhance their profitability in the long run. More development of 5G depends on its usage and innovations by the operators.   

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