Industry Thought Leadership

5G in Kuwait, Hype or a Real Need

November, 2017
Trevor Liu
Chief Executive Officer

Huawei Technologies

In the last 20 years, as part of the rapid ICT development, we have witnessed a major evolution of Mobile broadband services started at 2G, grew with 3G, and diversified in 4G, and now we are talking about 5G.

Though 5G is still considered as a ‘buzz’ word for consumers, the industry has been busy in getting ready for this new era, 3GPP is aiming to have full 5G standards developed in next two years, globally operators are conducting 5G trails with major vendors, it is one of the key strategies high on mobile operators agenda globally.

Yet, when discuss the 5G with leaders and decision makers in Kuwait, many concern about the real value 5G would bring to people, operators, and even on to Kuwait as a nation. Many believe that 4G is already satisfying immediate consumers and businesses needs in terms of services and experience, the 5G use cases like self-driving cars, or AR (augmented reality) could only be considered in the long term, and there are lack of factors and numbers to justify the huge investment that is required for 5G, Shall Kuwait be an early adopter?

From Kuwait market situation, operators and consumers behaviors, we believe 5G can bring great value to Kuwait, here is why:

Consumer always ask for more: looking into network data , the total data traffic in Kuwait increased by 10 folds from 2011 to 2016 , the average Kuwait LTE DOU (Data of use ) is reaching 50GB per month which is far above from worldwide average. Yet , customers are asking for higher speed, the bar is raising higher and higher, a user is expecting to see HD video without buffering in the busy hour, which is a major challenge on 4G. Only in 5G, with introduction of 10 Gbps per site concept which will radically solve this bottleneck and give operators a competitive edge.

Pay TV & VOD Services: IPTV based PayTV and VOD services are considered as a main new revenue source by operators globally. Compared to Saudi , UAE , or Qatar where IPTV offerings is reaching maturity level, Kuwait has much lower IPTV penetration rate, this is largely due to lack of fibre infrastructure in Kuwait. Even if 100% fiber coverage done in Kuwait, operators will still have the challenge to route fibre installations inside the building adding the cost and time. These obstacles position 5G as an attractive technology choice: with fiber is only needed to reach wireless site, then homes could be targeted by 5G , or what Huawei name WTTX, imagine that we just need a 5G router to enjoy Gbps speeds , without the hassle to plan fiber installations! Similar services also could be considered like Cloud CCTV Video surveillance with new MOI regulations boosting adoption on massive scale, or VOD apps that are growing at an impressive rate, welcome to 4k-8K wireless era!

Enterprise services: Enterprise services in Kuwait have great growth potential, whether it’s enterprise communication, CCTV, cloud services or IoT Services, businesses increasingly rely on the ICT technologies to help them ensuring quality, stability, and efficiency and continuity in the business, many of the connectivity requirement beyond 4G’s capability, and the alternative solution fiber or microwave present entrain limitations such as cost of fiber reach. Here we find that 5G makes perfect sense as technology choice, guaranteed speed ensured due high site capacity, cost effective as we avoid on premises expensive terminals, fast deployment as no bulky microwave/fiber installations.

New Kuwait: His highness Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah set the NewKuwait 2035 vision , a major pillar of this vision is to have a modernized Kuwait, evolve to Smart cities. MEW smart grid/metering and smart government projects are great examples of immediate needs that could be served better with 5G, adding to many other smart city use cases, the potential is just endless.

These are just some examples of 5G use cases that needed now, with the huge potentials in 5G, there are more use cases we don’t foreseen now, will be enabled and gaining popularity. This has happened in 4G, many services we use today such as, YouTube, Instagram, face book live or Snapchat sage, whose development and popularity were not envisaged prior to 4G roll out.

5G will unleash huge business potential for carriers and great benefits to Kuwait Economy. Leveraging existing Huawei infrastructure we will ensure smooth transition from 4.5 G to 5G. Together with Kuwait government, business and industry leaders, Huawei looks forward to making 5G a reality in Kuwait, and who knows, maybe in 5 years we will not need a driving license …