5G FWA key to connecting the continent – IT-Online

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Kathy Gibson reports from Gitex Africa Morocco – When we talk about using technology to unlock Africa’s potential, we can’t lose sight of the fact that this simply won’t be possible without better connectivity across the continent.

Fixed wireless access (FWA) on 5G mobile networks could go a long way towards closing the gap and connecting more Africans, according to Hou Yingzhen, president of 5G marketing and solution sales at Huawei Technologies.

He points out that in the 15 years since the world’s first 5G network went live, 1,6-billion people have been connected by the technology. This translates to 30% of global mobile users, 30% of mobile traffic and 40% of mobile service revenue.

More than 20 countries in Africa have launched commercial 5G networks, with about half of them offering 5G FWA.

“There is huge potential for FWA in Africa,” Yingzhen says. “The continent currently has 250-million unconnected families and a fibre penetration of just 2,1%. On the positive side, there is an installed base of 13-million 4G WTTx stations.”

For operators, FWA has been something of a “killer app”. It offers greater value at a lower cost, with an APRU increase of 30% and a short two year return on investment (ROI).

“These is no doubt that 5G can promote digitalisation,” Yingzhen says.

The technology can help to connect the 60-million SMEs on the continent, help to digitalise the mines that produce 30% of the world’s resources, and connect Africa’s more than 400 ports.

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