South Africa needs 5G for economic growth

Improved broadband penetration – and particularly 5G – is vital to growing South Africa’s economy, a conference hosted by communications regulator Icasa has heard.

“The deeper the broadband fabric, the more you can achieve,” said Africa Analysis MD Dobek Pater, who was discussing the potential impact of 5G networks at the South African 5G Forum in Pretoria on Wednesday.

5G offers faster speeds and can connect more devices, improving the quality of internet services in crowded areas and enabling a network designed to connect virtually everyone and everything together, including machines, objects and devices.5G offers faster speeds and can connect more devices, improving the quality of internet services…

The wireless technology is meant to deliver multi-gigabit-per-second peak data speeds, ultra-low latency, more reliability, massive network capacity, increased availability and a more uniform user experience.

Pater said studies show a clear positive relationship between higher connectivity and higher GDP growth rates and said good-quality broadband will be crucial in order not to become marginalised as a society.

In South Africa, the 5G network build-out is still in its early deployment phase, although equipment suppliers are moving to develop infrastructure and to try to reduce costs.

In 2022, 16 countries in Africa had commercial 5G up and running; over the next five years, 5G coverage will accelerate quickly as operators build infrastructure.

Job creation

New skill sets will be necessary to carry out the human/machine interaction and data analytics, which Pater believes will lead to job creation and economic growth.

These include jobs relating to maintenance of 5G infrastructure, the installation of internet-of-things devices, and indirect work that is not necessarily related to network infrastructure and devices but is fully dependent on the availability of 5G networks.  – © 2023 NewsCentral Media

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