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As the introduction of ubiquitous 5G technology approaches, understanding its use

cases and defining the deployment strategies are going to be the key to integrating it
on a large-scale, accessible basis. As technology with the potential to revolutionise
almost every aspect of modern life for governments, industries, enterprises and
individuals, operators must evaluate the benefits of 5G and set implementation
strategies to ensure that they stay ahead of the perpetually transforming ICT industry
curve.

For operators, the concept of 5G is not difficult to grasp, but understanding and
communicating its many use cases is pertinent in bridging the gap between operator
and customer. This begins with understanding how next-generation technology will alter
everyday operations. According to the Middle East and North East Africa appendix of
Ericsson's 2016 Mobility Report, between 2016 and 2022, smartphone subscriptions will
more than double from 230 million to 480 million. And while 33 per cent of subscribers
currently have smartphones, this figure will increase to 56 per cent in the next five
years. Because smartphone traffic is a key driver for data traffic, 5G will be integral in
the adoption of mobile broadband. Additionally, it is predicted that average active
smartphone data consumption per month will increase from 1.8GB at the end of 2016 to
13GB by 2022. What's more, mobile data traffic in the region is expected to reach
around 4.8 exabytes per month by the end of 2022, which is almost 13 times greater
than it is estimated to be at the end of 2016. Taken together, these factors indicate
immense growth potential for big data in the coming years and 5G will provide the
necessary means to function efficiently and effectively at such advanced data
transmission levels.

Beyond keeping pace with the rapid increase of smartphone use, 5G will also enable
new opportunities for the Internet of Things (IoT), as vendors push the limits of
technology. As more and more devices, sensors, and appliances connect to each other
and to the Internet, security and sustainability are key requirements for the successful
uptake of 5G services. By 2022, it is reported that the Mena will have around 20 million
5G subscribers and cellular IoT connections will reach 45 million from 10 million in 2016.

5G use cases span nearly every sector. In the TV and media industry, the technology
will allow for broadband and media presence everywhere, making it possible to
communicate in crowded or remote areas at high speed. In the transportation industry,
sensors embedded in roads, railways, airfields and vehicles will communicate with each
other through the 5G network. In the infrastructure industry, 5G will bring the high
reliability and low latency required to control critical services and infrastructure. In the
manufacturing industry, 5G will allow for remote control of heavy machinery, in turn
increasing efficiency and reducing costs and risks. But the use cases don't stop there;
5G will also transform healthcare, agriculture, utilities, and many other commercial
sectors - and telecommunications operators will be at the centre of the transformation.

IoT has the power to facilitate the digital transformation of nearly every industry,
unleashing creative business models that will help network operators in the region to
prosper into the future. Moreover, greater technology investments are foreseen in the
region, with manufacturing and transportation sectors expected to be the largest
contributors. The growth of 5G is linked to the expansion of the complete digital
ecosystem and the realisation of IoT. Network development and rollout must occur in
tandem with the development of terminals and devices.

In a world where the technologies of the future are approaching at an unprecedented


pace, operators must start assessing the cost associated with the deployment of 5G
versus its revenue-generating potential. Operators need to take a holistic approach to
investment with the view to adapting next-generation technology in its earliest stages
in order to optimise the technology's uses moving forward. With nearly one-third (31 per
cent) of the global operator community expecting to launch full commercial 5G service
by the end of 2021, and almost a further half (44 per cent) anticipating this outcome by
the end of 2025, operators must recognise the urgent requirement for collaboration
between fixed and mobile networks, and the need to share resources more effectively
and pro-actively. Success in the investment in 5G use cases is what will ultimately fuel
the overall realisation and success of the networked society.