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Regulatory pangs stifle $251b 5G market

Regulatory pangs stifle $251b 5G market

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Uncertain regulatory environments are stifling the growth of 5G networks in Middle East and Africa (MEA) region.

The Global 5G Market Report by market intelligence firm Netscribes said the global 5G market will grow at an overall compound annual growth rate of 97 per cent and will be worth $251 billion by 2025.

However, Netscribes says the MEA telecommunication industry faces numerous challenges in terms of an uncertain regulatory environment, low coverage of 2G, 3G and 4G technologies, and lack of spectrum.

Reuters reports that 5G networks, now in the final testing stage, will rely on denser arrays of small antennas and the cloud to offer data speeds up to 50 or 100 times faster than current 4G networks and serve as critical infrastructure for a range of industries.

It adds that deals to start building mass-market 5G networks are still largely a year away, but by 2025, 1.2 billion people are set to have access to 5G networks – a third of them in China, according to the global wireless trade group Global System for Mobile Communication Association (GSMA).

Meanwhile, Netscout believes a clean and regulatory business environment, along with well-defined 5G standards, is essential to make the most of 5G services.

Many countries in MEA, including Nigeria, have still not completed the digital switchover (DSO) process, and are therefore yet to allocate spectrum in the digital dividend band (700MHz) for mobile services, it adds.

According to Netscribes, this band is key in bringing affordable 4G mobile broadband services. It points out that many countries are now at a disadvantage when it comes to supporting swiftly growing cellular broadband uptake and usage as well as advanced 4G, and in the future 5G services, it notes.

It explains that some of the key challenges facing developing nations on the road to 5G adoption include inadequate spectrum, stiff competition and lack of infrastructure.

In South Africa as well as Nigeria, the low-band, around 700MHz, is currently occupied by analogue television stations without a clear timeline for digital migration. This band is critical for rural area deployment as it can cover large areas.

The mid-bands around 3.3MHz to 3.8MHz are partially allocated to other operators and used for radar services and satellite.

In Nigeria, the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) is driving the DSO while it is expected to work with the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) to provide a migration plan for this spectrum to ensure optimal allocation for 5G networks.

Looking ahead, Netscibes says some markets in the MEA will be among the first countries to launch global 5G networks, with commercial deployments planned in the UAE in 2019 and Qatar in 2020.

It points out that in regards to smartphone adoption, sub-Saharan Africa is still growing faster than any other region and will record a CAGR of 6.2 per cent over the next five years till 2020, compared to a global average of 4.2 per cent for the same period. By 2020, the penetration rate will rise to 50 per cent.


The post Regulatory pangs stifle $251b 5G market appeared first on The Nation Nigeria.

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