5G to boost mobile subs, revenue potential
5G mobile subscription uptake will be much faster than 4G/LTE technology, with 1.5 billion subscriptions expected by 2024.
So said Fida Kibbi, VP and head of marketing and communications for Ericsson Middle East and Africa, speaking during a media visit to Ericsson's Experience Centre in Santa Clara, California.
Kibbi pointed out that while adoption of 4G subscriptions was very fast, the road to 5G will reach unprecedented levels. Out of the total of 8.9 billion subscriptions expected by 2024, she said, 17% will be 5G.
"5G is happening and is now a reality globally. For example, in the US, Verizon has launched 5G on fixed wireless access Internet-to-the-home, so in this case it is becoming a reality. All four of the major US operators have already announced commercial deployment of 5G networks."
She is of the view that 5G deployment in the Middle East and Africa (MEA) is also becoming a reality in some parts but is still an exploration in many areas of the region.
"Middle East and Africa is a very dynamic and diverse market. One cannot look at the region as they would the US, Europe or Latin America. MEA has advanced markets, which are those markets in the Gulf region, and it also has the optimisation market, which includes countries like Turkey, Egypt, Lebanon and South Africa. These markets are talking about data monetisation, and cost-efficiency is very important.
"As 5G becomes a reality for the Middle East and Africa region, it will pick up even more, and in 2019 we expect to announce many commercial deployments."
Last month, Rain revealed its desire to make SA one of the first five countries globally to launch 5G, with plans for a commercial 5G service to be live early next year.
According to Kibbi, in a recent study, conducted by Ericsson's Consumer Lab department, consumers revealed they are definitely willing to pay for 5G provided it delivers high-speed data, low latency and capacity coverage. "76% of consumers surveyed for this study said they want 5G and 44% of them said they are willing to pay."
Explaining the commercial success in 5G deployment, she said Ericsson found next-generation technology promises to bring 36% additional revenue potential for operators in MEA.
"For those operators that define themselves as network developers, the sum of addressable 5G revenue will reach $12.6 billion. The revenue potential for the service enablers is $33.4 billion and for the service creators, operators that cater to application creation and service provisioning, revenue is $38.2 billion."
Kibbi further explained that the Ericsson study shows that if operators provide 5G for the public sector, there is potential additional revenue gain of $4.5 billion.
The top three industries Ericsson believes will benefit from 5G are manufacturing, energy and utilities, as well as public safety.