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What is missing to accelerate the implementation of 5G and its use in the corporate sector?

What is missing to accelerate the implementation of 5G and its use in the corporate sector?

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The Andean Development Community (CAF, in Spanish) has addressed the impact of the fifth generation of telecommunications.

According to CAF, from the end users’ perspective, 5G improves the quality of user experience that demands new requirements for connectivity, network and personal data security, accessibility, confidentiality and integrity in communications.

These conditions are becoming increasingly relevant in a digital economy environment.

For this to happen, governments must expand strategies and adapt them to regulations that allow technologies to flow and make the most of the resources required, providing innovative solutions for both the corporate sector and the general population. And the demand is growing.

5G Americas, an organization that unites the continent’s leading operators, explained in the Telecommunications Infrastructure: Comparative Regulation in Latin America and the Caribbean Study, that, in this scenario, countries are required to present a set of known and stable conditions that allow the industry to know in advance the necessary investment for the development of 4G LTE or 5G services.

It is essential to know, in addition to the planning of the different frequency bands to be offered, the requirements for the development of new technologies.

Some countries in the region are more advanced, and it is typical.

The concern arises when larger economies are held back by the urgency of regulation to allow the deployment and technological advancement of the industry.

Without this deployment, the losses could be huge, considering the numbers on the impact of this new generation of mobile communications and that a PwC study predicts an economic impact of 5G on global Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2030 of more than US$1.3 trillion and a global health and social care sector growth of US$530 billion, for example.

Jose Otero, Vice President for Latin America and the Caribbean, 5G Americas

Jose Otero, Vice President for Latin America and the Caribbean, 5G Americas

First, it is necessary to note that no radio spectrum allocation process is required to launch 5G technology.

There are cases where a surplus spectrum can allow the launch of 5G while the spectrum allocation process takes place. It is called DSS or Dynamic Spectrum Sharing and is used in Peru and Brazil before bidding processes.  But it will certainly not perform as well as a dedicated spectrum.

On the other hand, in Latin America, there are countries where a spectrum allocation process is highly necessary to expand third, fourth and fifth generation services. The first 5G announcement in Latin America (and the third worldwide) was in Uruguay. After that, we saw announcements in Brazil, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and Chile.

We have also seen announcements from Argentina, Peru, Colombia, Suriname and Mexico. Most of these launches were for fixed wireless services and were quite limited geographically.

Now, if we are talking about telecommunications services with steady growth and aggressive expression, we can point out that we have started to see these moves in Brazil, Chile and Mexico. In the rest of the region, there is 5G, but it is limited.

We are waiting for the spectrum auctions, but the macroeconomic situation is not helping in many markets with the impact of inflation.  5G is focused on enterprises and is a paradigm shift.

We must highlight the potential that this technology has in the business, corporate and government world to be a catalyst for the use of Artificial Intelligence, robotics and cloud computing, for example, thanks to the drop in the cost of data transmission compared to previous technologies.

It is a slow process where there has to be a shift in the infrastructure and devices to realize the impact of 5G as a driver for other technologies.  Also, we have to start looking through the window of the business world.

In other words, thinking about a national telecommunications development strategy is no longer a phenomenon that can be solved exclusively and internally by each country.

A specific example: If a company competes with companies in Asia, the United States, or Europe and has a 5G-compatible development requirement and there is no 5G network locally, contracts can be lost.

Another example is tourist markets like the Dominican Republic, Cayman Islands and Aruba, which can be a market for digital nomads with high purchasing power; however, an infrastructure is necessary to attract them.

Alejandro Adamowicz, Director of Technology and Strategy for Latin America, GSMA

Alejandro Adamowicz, Director of Technology and Strategy for Latin America, GSMA

The success of 5G in the region requires a joint effort between the private and public sectors.

Government commitment is crucial to creating the necessary conditions to deploy this technology and unlock its benefits.

To comprehend the potential of 5G, the region needs:

1. Availability of radio spectrum. This resource must be made available to operators in a planned manner, on time, in sufficient quantity and at reasonable prices to encourage investment.

2.  Agile processes for infrastructure deployment. 5G will require more than 10 times as many antennas as 4G and all must connect to fiber optics, so bureaucratic barriers to site and antenna deployment must be broken down, especially at the municipal level.

3.  Regulation that promotes investment. 5G is a technology expected to last decades, so investments are medium and long-term. Clear and stable rules are essential to ensure business plans that encourage investment and competition, which are the factors that enrich an innovative, quality and competitively priced offering.

4.  Attractive business cases. Without a doubt, the most significant impact of 5G will be on the B2B segment, as its characteristics (ultra-high speed, low latency and massive machine-to-machine communications) will enable the creation of customized solutions and applications for specific companies and industries.

Therefore, an essential component of success is for each country to work to develop use cases tailored to its macro-economy. In Latin America, the first experiences are in agribusiness and mining.

Marcelo Ruiz, Director of Telecommunications and Technology Consulting, Frost & Sullivan Latin America

Marcelo Ruiz, Director of Telecommunications and Technology Consulting, Frost & Sullivan Latin America

Frost & Sullivan, an ICT market intelligence and strategy consulting firm across more than 15 verticals, considers the following aspects to accelerate 5G deployment in Latin America and its use in the corporate sector.

  • The spectrum auctions must be carried out in the short term by the regulatory agencies and public politics must be accelerated. There must be definition and execution. We can no longer wait for a technology that is vitally important for the economic and productive development of the countries and the region.
  • Spectrum auctions must be competitive to encourage investment in 5G and feature innovative schemes such as zonal spectrum auctions, private 5G networks, the extension of license concessions to more years and multi-band auctions as occurred in Brazil, for example.
  • Continue and strengthen the expansion of 4G and LTE coverage by mobile operators in Latin America and then migrate to 5G. Also, high-capacity fiber optic networks with 5G at the network transport layer.
  • Develop mobile industrial equipment and devices that support 5G at more competitive prices.
  • Facilitate in a more agile and less bureaucratic way the licensing processes for infrastructure installation in the different cities of Latin America since 5G requires the deployment of a significant number of microcells (small cells).

The deployment of 5G will have a standout impact on the corporate segment.

It is because it is expected a hyper-connected and integrated digital ecosystem with Artificial Intelligence, Big Data, Blockchain, quantum computing and other disruptive technologies with great potential, besides connection speeds and low latency.

It is especially true in sectors such as Industry 4.0, healthcare with telemedicine applications and remote surgeries with high resolution, commerce with Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality applications, and intelligent transportation and logistics.

Likewise, for the small and medium-sized enterprises, which constitute more than 90% of the business structure in Latin America, there is an enormous potential for innovation, development of new disruptive services, automation and more efficient internal processes.

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