There’s enormous excitement for how 5G networks are now being trialed and deployed across the Middle East region—and for good reason. While the roll-out of 5G telecom networks has caught many of the recent headlines, we’re now entering a critical inflection point of not just having 5G capabilities, but actually leveraging that massive potential for economic transformation.
In a world where we are seeing economic uncertainty and slowdown, 5G provides great opportunities to transform industries. New 5G technologies are set to create an extra USD$1.4 trillion in GDP for worldwide economies over the next decade, according to a recent report by Huawei and STL Partners1. By 2025, we further estimate that the market value of 5G consumer services will increase to USD$238 billion, and over the same period the value of 5G industry digital transformation will exceed USD$600 billion2.
Establishing Common Ground
To truly realize the digital transformation of all industries, 5G is the essential element for market pioneers, and those of us in the ICT field must be working off the same playbook.
We already know that Release 16 will be 5G “phase 2" and will be completed in June 2020. This focuses on vertical industry applications and equips people with a common understanding of a network with deterministic capabilities – those that will propel the concept of “Industries +5G” on a global scale.
We are encouraged to see that in the Middle East, 5G is already being leveraged by industries at a significant pace. During the Chinese Spring Festival Celebration 2020 in Dubai, for example, the two major carriers in the UAE teamed up with Huawei and China Media Group to realize the first live broadcast using a 5G commercial network abroad. With an average of 80 Mbps uplink capability, full HD and even 4K video streaming could be steadily transmitted from Dubai to Beijing. Compared with optical fibers, microwave transmission, or satellite broadcast, 5G makes live broadcast more convenient, flexible and cost-effective.
Meanwhile in markets like Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, operators have started to launch 5G leased lines for enterprise customers. Having the fast, reliable connection possible is now a basic requirement as enterprises seek to become more digital, and the service expectation is increasing exponentially. The ICT industry is responding with enterprise-class 5G outdoor CPE, and 5G base stations ready for guaranteed speed, latency control and guaranteed SLA. Telecom operators can thus provide affordable leased lines with high reliability and availability for enterprises. Compared with fixed access or microwave, 5G leased lines in general is quicker to deploy together with more affordable prices, inspiring new experiences amongst local enterprises and delivering quick wins for the telecom operators.
This is just the beginning. In the Middle East today, more and more new requirements of industry digital transformation using 5G are emerging, and that will speed up 5G network evolution. For instance, in some industry campus, they deal with more stringent operating requirements than almost any other industry, new applications are emerging such as mission-critical communications anywhere, real-time CCTV monitoring anywhere, AR surveys anywhere, remote control capabilities in extreme conditions, and so on. The power of 5G could bring the value of ultra-low latency, high bandwidth, and real-time communications, even combined with other capabilities like AI and Cloud, 5G will help make the campus more intelligent, more effective, and more secure, to assure a higher quality of deterministic networking experiences.
But how do we realize all of this? In a recent white paper launched by the 5G Deterministic Networking Alliance in February 2020, it was stated that 5G Deterministic Networking (5GDN) is able to leverage 5G network resources to build manageable, verifiable, and deterministic virtual private mobile networks, offering customers a predictable and differentiated service experience.
In the process of building a 5GDN, operators can start with the core network which can master the entire network topology and orchestrate, schedule, and manage network resources globally. 5GDN help operator evolution to extreme-simplified target core network with “CORE” principle, which involves Cloud native, One core, Real-time operation, and Edge computing.
5GDN runs on a cloud-native platform and supports 2G/3G/4G/5G full convergence, by leveraging super-performance MEC on heterogeneous computing architecture, multi-dimensional dynamic slicing and automation engine in network deployment / provisioning / O&M, it can provide differentiated network capabilities and deterministic networking experience for any industry.
Technically, the 3GPP has deﬁned the basic framework of 5GDN and functions related to deterministic capabilities. These functions will be further developed along with 3GPP R17. All parties need to further explore and gradually promote the "CORE" concept in actual deployment to form a differentiated, dedicated, and DIY 5GDN.
Considering operators’ 5G deployments are still at an early stage far behind the extreme-simplified core network, we suggest that 5GDN is reviewed in these early days for appropriate industries and scenarios. As stated earlier, campuses, harbors, and ports could all be considered prior to more large-scale public 5G rollouts. In fact, current 5G leased lines can be considered as a preliminary application of 5GDN, which now offers guaranteed bandwidth and latency but with good tolerance. After 5GDN deployment, the performance, latency and reliability can be improved further.
In the end, we can clearly see that 5G is expanding at an exciting pace. It is creating value for operators and enterprises alike. In order for operators to better monetize the available markets, and for industries to benefit fully from 5G, it is imperative that we all do our part to support a collaboration model between all stakeholders.
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