Industry Thought Leadership

Global Connectivity Essential During and After the Pandemic

February, 2022

China Mobile International

The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated digital transformation for companies and organizations in the Middle East and Africa (MEA). China Mobile International (CMI) is expanding its network infrastructure to connect MEA and the world, promoting global connectivity and helping shape a better digital future.

Reliable global connectivity positions companies and organizations to transform and better support their business functions within the MEA region and across their other global locations. At the same time, the COVID-19 crisis has changed the way companies do business and touched every aspect of daily life. Global connectivity has become more essential than ever, enabling remote working, distance learning and telehealth, and facilitating personal communication and entertainment services.

In MEA, demand for digital services is accelerating across all sectors of the economy. Pandemic-related changes and MEA companies’ ambition to attract foreign investment are combining to put further focus on digital transformation, driving high demand for cloud solutions and collaboration applications.

Gartner is predicting that over 95% of new digital workloads will be deployed on cloud-native platforms by 2025, up from 30% in 2021, and that remote employees will make up a sizeable portion of the global workforce. More than 30% of workers worldwide are expected to be working remotely at least part of the time this year.

With MEA markets experiencing similar trends, the global ICT community is supporting increased connectivity by boosting the region’s digital infrastructure.

Connecting MEA to Asia and beyond
At the forefront of this push in MEA is CMI, the China Mobile subsidiary responsible for international business. CMI continues to invest and innovate to bring high-quality communications services and solutions to MEA to create a more connected world.

“We are committed to a digital future where telecommunications is a bridge that increases economic competitiveness and promotes better quality of life for people in urban and rural communities across the globe. That’s why we are here,” Colin Wang, Managing Director of CMI MEA Region said.

2Africa is a key part of this future vision. The longest subsea cable in the world, 2Africa will be over 45,000 kilometers in length once completed in 2023/2024, connecting 33 countries across three continents: Africa, Europe and Asia. As a partner in the 2Africa consortium, CMI is helping bring seamless international connectivity and new opportunities directly to 3 billion people, representing 36% of the global population.

With MEA increasingly looking beyond the pandemic, 2Africa creates unique connectivity to enrich the region’s links with the world. The cable system has 46 landing locations, directly linking the African continent to the Persian Gulf, India and Pakistan, and four key countries in Europe, and onward to Asia. This coverage is important, since businesses and organizations will now have fair and easy access to ample capacity in each landing location, encouraging and supporting the development of a healthy internet ecosystem to enrich the region.

“As the only operator from Asia investing in 2Africa, our subsea cable resources are vital to connecting Africa to Asia and beyond,” Colin said.

CMI has built global ICT infrastructure that spans cables, points of presence (PoPs) and data centers, with a total international transmission bandwidth of more than 105T at the end of 2021, up 18% over 2020. 2Africa will help CMI further connect its 31 PoPs around the Arabian Sea with its local ring in Europe and self-owned data centers in London and Frankfurt. It will also extend connectivity to Asia via its existing subsea cable resources: SEA-ME-WE 5 and AAE-1.

In this way, CMI is creating a transnational ICT superhighway that will help it deliver enhanced capacity and improved service quality to drive intelligent digital transformation around the world.

Helping carriers prepare for a digitalized future
Mobile carriers worldwide are now preparing their post-pandemic recovery path to help corporate customers meet evolving business needs.

Empowering carriers for growth, CMI is a trusted one-stop-shop partner with a comprehensive solution. It delivers reliable, cost-effective and secure global connectivity, with offerings that extend from traditional data services, such as connectivity, Internet Data Center (IDC) and Dedicated Internet Access (DIA), to value-added services such as China-wide content delivery encompassing provisioning, installation, maintenance, billing and customer support.

Bringing smart and efficient 5G connectivity
Demand for 5G roaming is set to soar in MEA as economic recovery gains ground. The commercial roll-out of 5G in Africa commenced earlier this year, and large-scale deployment will be the next step, though challenges remain. Most crucially, the rollout of 5G networks will more than double the energy consumption of base station equipment.

“Many base stations don’t have sufficient power supply or battery capacity to support 5G deployment. Carriers also face increased deployment and operational costs,” Colin said.
Overcoming these challenges, CMI’s innovative iConnect 5G Power Cabinet is an integrated base station power system with multiple energy input and output capabilities and modular design to support on-demand deployment. It needs less installation space and modification, ensuring fast deployment, and incorporates an energy management and control platform to increase efficiency and reduce maintenance costs.

Enhancing access to cloud technologies
Since its launch in May 2019, CMI’s mCloud cloud-network integration platform has helped more than 19,000 enterprises, including MEA-based businesses and multinationals serving MEA, to efficiently deploy and manage innovative cloud and network products worldwide.

Riding on its extensive global network infrastructure, CMI’s partnerships with renowned cloud service providers, such as Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud, Alibaba Cloud, Huawei Cloud and Tencent Cloud, help it deliver fast and easy one-stop worldwide cloud-network coverage for mCloud customers. Its multi-cloud platform supports self-service ordering, rapid automated deployment and visualized Operations and Maintenance. CMI also offers flexible contract periods and supports a variety of payment options and currencies.

Enabling smart homes and more
The smart home market is expected to take off in MEA in the next few years. Helping carriers, service providers, device makers and retail brands prepare for this upswing, CMI has launched RINGA, a smart home development platform. It will support the rapid growth of the smart home market by allowing ecosystem partners to build integrated home automation solutions that connect various Internet of Things (IoT) devices to a single application.

More broadly, carriers and enterprises in MEA will be able to leverage CMI’s expanding digital infrastructure and solutions like mCloud and RINGA for seamless, smart and efficient digital connectivity with the world.

Building the right infrastructure, solutions and services to help carriers and enterprises in MEA embrace opportunities in the advancing digital era is vital to CMI’s mission to shape a better digital future through innovation, synergy and vitality, connecting MEA and the world.