Industry Thought Leadership

5G Geared up for Cross-Industrial Digital Transformation

August, 2020
Fahad Al Ali
Chief Technology Officer

stc Kuwait

5G, or the fifth-generation technology for mobile networks, is a new global wireless standard after 1G, 2G, 3G, and 4G networks designed to meet the requirements of IMT-2020 set by the ITU-R, the ITU Radio communication sector. Unlike its predecessors, primarily built to deliver communication services such as voice, messaging and mobile broadband, 5G is expected to fundamentally transform the telecommunications technology role in society. The technology serves as an opportunity to create agile, purpose-built networks tailored to accommodate the diverse needs of individuals, corporates, and industries.

Fifth Generation technology is used across three core types of connected services, these include Enhanced Mobile Broadband (eMBB), Ultra-reliable and Low-latency Communications (uRLLC), and Massive Machine Type Communications (mMTC). The enhanced capabilities will be able to support high data throughput of 20Gbps peak data rate, 100-1000Mbps as experience rate, 1ms ultra-low latency, 1 million massive connections per km2, high mobility for up to 500Km/h, and 100x energy efficiency. Through these upgrades, 5G will enable the next-generation of user experience, empower new deployment models and deliver new solutions. It is expected that mobile ecosystems will eventually expand into new domains through 5G, impacting industries, while virtually connecting anyone and anything with machines, objects, and devices.

Unlike its predecessors, the Fifth-Generation technology is a key enabler of digital transformation across industries. With the capacity to withstand functions that require higher bandwidth demands, 5G is capable of meeting the diverse needs for enhanced digital lifestyles, such as high definition videos, virtual reality, and augmented reality. The revolutionary network can also meet the digital industry’s increasing demand for latency-sensitive services, such as assisted and automated driving, remote management, smart manufacturing, public safety, transportation, media and entertainment.

The success of implementing 5G is directly correlated to the maturity level of ecosystems. Consumers may witness this progress as more affordable 5G smartphones and other devices are released in the market that utilize the 5G connectivity solutions, such as cloud gaming and AR/VR. On the business front, the revolutionary network is inspiring new industrial models worldwide, providing valuable case studies and experiences. Places like South Korea and China, industries are being supported by hundreds of 5G-powered applications ranging from education to agriculture, with more validations on a daily basis. Meanwhile in Europe, logistics, manufacturing, and other domains are swiftly building their own 5G based models. The Middle East, which has been become a pioneer in 5G commercialization and service innovation since 2018, has accelerated industry digital transformation across operators, vendors, and vertical industry partners jointly exploring innovative use cases. Today more than 70 partners are actively working to bring diverse 5G services into the market.

As a leader in enabling digital transformation of Kuwait, stc is constantly exploring new services and platforms that can add value to society. The Company is proud of the progress that Kuwait has achieved amongst the pioneering countries in the region in terms of commercialization and expanding the 5G network. stc has led the 5G market progression in Kuwait through user centric tech innovations, a milestone that recognizes the Company as the first operator in the world to implement nationwide coverage . Today, stc Kuwait is launching its SA 5G to unveil the true power of the network, maximize synergy with LTE, and expand business from basic connectivity to digital services enablement.

On a consumer level, stc Kuwait is recognized as the market leader for MIFI packages designed to bring the 5G Giga experience to users, as well as 5G indoor coverage which has already been deployed in several shopping malls. stc’s 5G network is also gearing up for the 5G smartphone boom, which is expected to accelerate in Q3 2020, providing continuous and seamless 5G coverage through a network highly dominated by 5G smartphone users. For gamers, stc Kuwait is currently in talks with leading global gaming providers to collaborate on ways to guarantee the best gaming experience for popular games such as PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (a.k.a. PUBG) in Kuwait.

To enhance home connectivity, the Company introduced a speed-based 5G fixed wireless solution to empower Giga-level internet connections. This solution is complimented with mesh Wi-Fi to provide seamless and continuous Giga-throughput coverage, especially in larger 2-3 level homes. With volume-based packages witnessing increased competitive throughout Kuwait and the region, speed and experience-based packages still have room to improve. stc Kuwait believes that wireless, speed-based packages in particular, will be key to providing a stable experience with shorter time-to-market compared to fiber.

Services tailored for business use are also key segments to consider in the 5G era. Back in August 2019, stc Kuwait launched the world’s first speed-based 5G Data Access commercial service, aimed at creating high-quality broadband connectivity to local enterprises. Many businesses are using stc’s 5G data access solution, which features low costs and faster time-to-market compared to microwave offerings. 5G “Dedicated Access” is also satisfying SME’s requirements during the pandemic period and supporting mobile data access points for local banks, such as the mobile ATM branch. Thanks to 5G “Dedicated Access”, users can now directly talk to an NBK Agent using audio and video conferencing to complete transactions such as issuing a debit card, depositing or cashing a check, and more.

Various industries are taking the stride towards digitalization, an initiative that is recognized as ‘Industry 4.0’. Through gradually expanding the business across industry verticals, stc Kuwait is providing innovative solutions to the oil & gas, education, government and other sectors to enable digital transformation. By leveraging its 5G, Mobile Edge Computing, and other state-of-art ICT technologies, stc Kuwait will accelerate the industry digitalization process in Kuwait and open the door to “0” cabling, AI and fully digitalized production procedures. Looking forward, stc Kuwait will continuously enhance and improve its infrastructure, services, delivery efficiencies, and local ecosystem development in order to offer innovative products and solutions to enhance the user experience and accelerate cross-industry enablement.