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The end often marks the beginning of something new. Even though MWC Barcelona seems like a distant memory, the buzz of the 2019 show lives on. Yes, the plethora of 5G phones, enhanced mixed-reality headsets and virtual co-drivers were all the rage but what really excites me is the pioneering role of Asia Pacific in next generation networks.
Asia is set to become the world’s largest 5G region by 2025. Mobile operators across the region will invest almost 200 billion over the next few years in upgrading their 4G networks and launching new 5G networks, according to GSMA.
All Hail the Arrival of 5G
In the short term, we see a cautious adoption of 5G which is being tested in phases throughout the region. Korea’s government and operators are determined to spearhead the commercialisation of 5G networks. The country recently celebrated “ Korea 5G Day,” or the day that Korea went live with more than one commercial 5G network for business users on fixed-wireless access. The next launch, expected in the near future, will involve 5G cellular services for consumers.
Our customers across the region know that a network that is 100 times faster will create new revenue streams as 5G offers the potential for new applications such as driverless vehicles and Industrial IoT.
For example, in Japan 5G investment becomes an economic necessity as 30 percent of the population will be older than 65 in 2025. The critical function will be enabling widespread automation and robotic technologies that maintain production levels, grow GDP and ensure older populations are cared for.
China illustrates a country turning to 5G as a chance to lead wireless technology development on a global scale. The nation’s tech companies want to be the next Apple or Microsoft which are worth nearly a trillion dollars. Outside of efficient traffic and improved cities, 5G could potentially create new opportunities within smart factories and autonomous vehicles. China aims to enhance its position as a leading digital country as outlined in its 13th Five Year Plan and the “Made in China 2025” initiative.
The world’s second most populous country is also behind the 5G push given its potential economic impact and focus on government programs like Digital India and smart cities. However, India must increase fiber investment and build the underlying infrastructure, according to TRAI Chairman.
How we can help network operators get ready for 5G
At MWC, I had the opportunity to connect with customers from Asia Pacific. Looking to the future, it seems almost impossible to imagine the new industries, economies and benefits for society. There’s a lot of work to be done when it comes to laying the groundwork for 5G and it’s critical we look beyond our borders and collaborate on network investment, new infrastructure and ways to maximise existing technologies for increased capacity. Check out this video from Barcelona:
Someone is sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago
Warren Buffett’s quote resonated with me as I spent time speaking with industry peers, customers and partners while experiencing new technologies over the four days at MWC. There’s nothing like resting under a shady tree on a hot day (I’m grateful to Willis Carrier for air conditioning). If we plan now, Gen Z and their children will thank us one day.