By Saurabh Verma, Associate Director, Digital Transformation Practice, Frost & Sullivan – Middle East

Market Context

Huawei hosted its fourth 5G ecosystem conference as a part of Huawei Innovation Day at the 2019 Gitex in Dubai, UAE and shared major developments and 5G success stories in the Middle East (ME) region.

According to Global Industry Vision (GIV) report estimates, there will 6.5 million base stations, 5.8 billion users, and 20% of the world’s population will be on 5G by 2025. This means that 5G will have significant headroom for growth, as well as numerous use cases. To date, Huawei announced that it has secured more than 50 commercial 5G contracts while shipping more than 200,000 base stations worldwide. Huawei also found success with operators in the GCC region assisting them with their 5G commercial launch.

Strengthening the 5G Ecosystem

Huawei presented 5G progress in the Middle East and how operators are evaluating new consumer, and enterprise-focused 5G use cases to launch soon. Among its announcements, Huawei reiterated the importance of a strong ecosystem, which is critical for 5G’s success. Huawei has continuously highlighted the fact that ecosystem players, including OEMs, partners, industry bodies, regulators, telecom operators, as well as end-user organizations will have to closely collaborate to identify and develop use cases to leverage the capabilities of 5G networks. On that note, Huawei extended an opportunity to its partners to showcase real-life deployments of 5G use cases they have deployed in the region. These partners were Loudplay, RPMAnetworks, and others. There was a strong focus on the enterprise-focused 5G use cases this year, particularly as 5G commercial launches gained more momentum in the Middle East in 2019. Huawei introduced the Virtual Campus Network (VCN) where a campus-like site can be connected using a dedicated 5G network cost-effectively and efficiently. Other use cases presented were CCTV solutions integrated with AI delivered using 5G.

5G VCN, in particular, is expected to gain popularity in the region where new cities are being developed at a rapid pace. VCN provides a virtualized network that is an independent and dedicated private network service for the campus. VCN delivers dedicated network capabilities and lightweight assets to deploy digital infrastructure. On one hand, telecom operators realize spectrum and network potential, and incremental benefits by commercializing the network capabilities. On the other hand, 5G VCN provides identification and segregation of users between public and private networks, guarantees security, low latency gateway localization, and convenient service provisioning on the operator’s dedicated networks. Multiple industries are relevant for 5G VCN, e.g. oil and gas, education/university campuses, mega-event sites with a large number of users.

Huawei also announced the launch of 5G OpenLab in the Middle East region to collaborate with its partners and customers to ensure delivery of solutions by cultivating a strong and inclusive 5G ecosystem. The event also saw regional operations such as STC discussing its 5G strategy and VIVA Kuwait presenting its case for 5G B2B dedicated access.

RPMAnetworks presented innovative use cases on Smart Fire solution and Smart Patrol it has developed in collaboration with Etisalat, UAE Civil Defense, and Huawei. The Connected IoT Automotive (CIOTA) solution of RPMAnetworks is a unique solution providing onboard and connectivity solutions, telematics platform, data integration, and services to the automotive industry including car manufacturers, fleet owners, and other entities. The solution combines high-speed, on-demand passenger Wi-Fi with advanced vehicle health monitoring and safety. In light of the pre-commercial rollouts of the cloud gaming platforms of the ME telecom operators, Huawei had its partner Loudplay showcase its capabilities and success on cloud gaming using 5G networks. The broader concept of Loudplay’s cloud gaming platform enables gamers to provide ‘anywhere-anytime’ on different devices, and without spending on a high-spec gaming console.

Summary and Outlook

5G is here, and there is no denying that it will be a critical enabler for telecom operators as well as organizations to adapt and cope up with the rapid technological shift. Huawei’s conference at Gitex 2019 provided several insights on existing and future use cases, integration of 5G networks with other technologies and solutions (e.g. AI, IoT, and Digital, etc.), and most importantly, Huawei’s thought leadership and advancements/progress on building a strong 5G ecosystem in the ME region.

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