The one policy action that would do the most to accelerate African development is connecting the unconnected. 5G is the next big thing in wireless technology. 5G network is nearing deployment, with global trials underway and deployments planned in the coming months. With speeds projected to be five times faster than 4G LTE, applications that are unimaginable with today’s bandwidth limitations will be possible on the 5G network. The next generation 5G wireless will allow virtually every industry to deliver advanced connectivity and increased intelligence across the rapidly evolving wireless edge. It is essential that the broader ecosystem across the continent pursue the endless possibilities and computing technologies that the 5G network will provide. 5G network is the next generation of mobile internet connectivity, offering faster speeds and more reliable connections on smartphones and other devices than ever before. Beyond being about just a big speed boost, 5G will be extremely important as it will be the technology that self-driving cars, telemedicine services (such as remote surgery) and many others will be based on. It is the fifth generation of cellular mobile communications, which will ultimately replace 4G LTE to provide faster and more reliable service with lower latency. Streaming without buffering and downloading large files in seconds will all be possible on 5G. Latency, or the time it takes devices to communicate with each other wireless networks, will also drastically decrease once it is fully deployed. The network will help power a huge rise in Internet of Things (IoT) technology, providing the infrastructure needed to carry huge amounts of data, allowing for a smarter and more connected world. Hence, the 5G Africa conference has become so crucial in Africa at this time because publication of the first standard defining a true 5G network has been approved in June 2018. Beyond that, 2019 will see the release of the first 5G-compatible smartphones, along with 5G mobile network deployments. By early 2020, operator adoption of the new standard is predicted to be on a steep upward curve. With an estimated internet penetration of about 39%, Africa is well behind the rest of the world currently. If we don’t start preparing for 5G now, there is a fear the gap will grow even bigger. Hence, the need for this 5G Africa Forum.
BBC Studios Africa
Global Head of TMT
MW Transmission Planning Optimization Manager
Chief Research Scientist