APA

African Press Association

5G earmarked to help combat COVID-19 scourge

by SAVIOUS KWINIKA 
JOHANNESBURG – THE recent launch of fifth-generation (5G) technology in South African is presenting attractive opportunities for consumers, carriers and the information and communications technology (ICT) industry at large.

Globally, the capabilities of 5G are forecast to enhance the prospects of finding a vaccine and treatments for the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

5G is also hailed as a key move to bridge the digital divide afflicting poor communities.

South African mobile service providers – MTN, Vodacom and rain – recently announced the beginning of the 5G roll-out on their networks.

Experts said a key advantage of 5G technology was its more cost-effective way to serve more subscribers.

Hence, the 5G roll-out will enable networks to serve more South Africans in rural areas at lower cost, and begin to empower more people through access to connectivity.

Paul Scanlan, the Huawei Carrier Chief Technology Officer, said because 5G components were more compact and base stations less expensive to build, culminating in broader and more affordable coverage.

“Customers then get a better service, at less cost. In this way, we continue to narrow the digital divide that deprives poor people of opportunities,” Scanlan said.

Lower latency is another significant advantage of 5G over 4G.

“5G is really a platform for transformation. It gives consumers a whole new range of opportunities,” Scanlan said.

5G technology has always been hailed for its anticipated impact on health, education and agriculture spheres.

In this era of COVID-19, prospects of finding a vaccine and treatments have been enhanced by the capabilities of 5G to gather huge amounts of data, process it and share it with specialists around the world.

“Where previously, the research, testing approvals and distribution of vaccines might take a decade, now we might have a COVID-19 vaccine within a year,” Scanlan said.

Another efficiency opportunity of 5G lies in the smart city space.

Huawei, therefore, believes because of the vast benefits, it was also in the interests of countries to facilitate the licensing and approval of 5G.

“Since 5G is such an incredible platform for transformation, once it is fully enabled, the benefits will increase by several orders of magnitude – for government, the economy and to industrial development,” Scanlan said.

– CAJ News