More than speed: 5G could become the next big economic driver

(Credit: Unsplash)

This article is brought to you thanks to the collaboration of The European Sting with the World Economic Forum.

Author: Osvaldo Di Campli, President of Latin America Region, Nokia

  • Latin America is taking a five-pronged attack to deploying 5G in the region.
  • Digitalisation must be rolled out across all sectors of the economy for it to work both public services and industry.
  • Partnerships and collaborations will be key, for building digital ecosystems, bringing IoT devices into the frame and versing people in the language of 5G.

5G is often understood to be able to increase the speed of “everything”. Dictionaries define it as “technology to send data… at higher speeds than 4G devices”. And yet 5G is so much more than the next G-speed; it is also key driver of economic growth.

Here are five ways the Latin American region is preparing for 5G, so that it can become an enabler of successful digital transformation:

1. Seeing 5G as critical infrastructure for national economies

5G and the digital ecosystem that it will create are set to spur economic recovery after COVID-19.

We will see increased productivity with more added-value services and higher incomes as a result, and this will go a long way towards overcoming a stubborn digital divide and helping to bring Latin Americans into greater economic parity with other regions.

In some places citizens lack access to appropriate broadband speed and network quality. To overcome it, we need to expand network coverage in order to reach the unconnected 100 million inhabitants; and to increase adoption by the 211 million people that do not have service despite coverage.

The more regionally and globally harmonised the 5G roadmap is, the more affordable the devices and the more effective the network deployment —Osvaldo Di Campli

Currently, six out of 10 households in Latin America do not have fixed broadband. Deploying a 5G network involves large costs and long payback periods. Prospective investors understandably seek certainty and clarity about the legal and regulatory landscape.

A recent study carried out by Nokia and OMDIA Consultants, ‘Why 5G in Latin America?’, estimated that 5G penetration would sit at 17% by the end of 2024. The digital transformation led by 5G and its use cases could deliver up to $3.3 trillion economic and social value by 2035.

That timing is critical: Latin America is already behind its peers in productivity and is also lagging behind with the deployment of 5G networks. Therefore, planning is key.

2. Accelerating the digital agenda across all sectors

The success of the digital transformation led by 5G will depend on providing digitalisation across all sectors of the economy. This will require the creation of open and diverse ecosystems for collaborative value creation. New players and new business models will arise, from carrier-neutral and wholesale operators to innovative services providers.

Policymakers in Latin America have the chance to develop an agenda to accelerate innovation and encourage investments into digitalisation for both public services and industrial development.

The region can leapfrog other regional ecosystems by learning from the experience of high-performing digital economies, such as Finland and other European countries.

The Colombian city of Medellín has also been named a centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution and is taking the lead in ecosystem nurturing.

3. Spectrum clearing and reallocating

Governments can act as facilitators for the process of creating and cultivating the 5G ecosystem. One crucial step will be accelerating the allocation of spectrum, because 5G needs spectrum for coverage (lower bands), high-speed mobility (mid-bands) and for industrial applications (millimeter waves). Millimeter waves enable services that can generate a qualitative leap in manufacturing.

Many countries in the region have started 5G trials, including Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Mexico and Peru. We need a clear spectrum roadmap: the more regionally and globally harmonised the spectrum is, the more affordable the devices become and the more effective network deployment is.

Chile has taken the lead in spectrum auctioning and should be seen as a benchmark for the region. There are commercial 5G networks in the Caribbean (Setar Aruba) and Uruguay (Antel Uruguay) too, and they are currently working with Nokia on trials.

4. Supporting enhanced IoT solutions for agriculture and industrial sectors

For industrial sectors, digitalisation means the ability to control physical assets using digital tools. 5G will have a big impact on industrial digitalisation. In Brazil, it could be agriculture, mining and manufacturing. In Chile, manufacturing, mining and logistics. In Colombia, oil and gas and agriculture. In Mexico, manufacturing and mining. In sum, it is not merely a question of connectivity.

Thriving in the 5G era requires an ability to play in an ecosystem; being open to working with partners in IoT devices as well as in use cases. In Brazil, the ConectarAgro initiative is a bold example of how the issues of agriculture can be addressed from a problem-solving and multiple-partner approach. These industries need private networks, safely designed and robustly customised through a path that could start with advanced 4G and evolve to 5G.

Example of GDP share of some industries in Latin America Image: OECD data 2020 and “Why 5G in Latin America?” Nokia-OMDIA Whitepaper

5. Helping people to play a creative and active role in 5G

The people who create, perfect, use and benefit from this technology need to be held in mind throughout the 5G journey. Next-generation networks will require the upskilling and reskilling of students and workers throughout their lives.

This lifelong process requires partnerships between public- and private-sector organisations, to create training programs and testbeds for the development of solutions in emerging markets.

Digital natives must also be given the conditions to integrate into the ecosystem not only as consumers, but also in order to create and build a new digital economy.

5G for prosperity

The early definition of 5G centered on speed. Perhaps a new definition will be fitting in not too long, as society transforms the concept into something like ‘the technology that enables prosperity’.

Whether we move in that direction or not will depend on what problems we decide to solve, how we address ongoing challenges like the digital skills gap, and what investments we decide are needed in structural actions to close the digital divide.

the sting Milestones

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Cities: a ’cause of and solution to’ climate change

MEPs cap prices of calls within EU and approve emergency alert system

UN chief hopes for new agreement after Israel concludes international observation mission

How to stay in shape and step up support for refugees

Innovation is the key to the pay-TV industry’s long-term growth

‘Dangerous nationalism’ seriously threatens efforts to tackle statelessness: UNHCR chief

Is Eurozone heading towards a long stagnation?

Spain will soon overtake Japan in life expectancy rankings. Here’s why

Sovereign wealth funds could increase equality in a post-COVID world

Election-related violence claims 85 lives in Afghanistan: UN report

Countries must make teaching profession more financially and intellectually attractive

An economist explains what happens if there’s another financial crisis

Commissioner sings “Volar-e” but the European driver no “Cantar-e”

COP21 Breaking News_03 December: Transport Industry Drive for Improved Energy Efficiency and Electro-Mobility to Stem High Growth of Emissions

This fascinating map shows how food moves around the US

Draghi left alone with no hope of boosting EU growth as Merkel just focuses on next elections

These 11 companies are leading the way to a circular economy

From social entrepreneurship to systems entrepreneurship: how to create lasting change

Parliament votes for €1 billion in aid to Ukraine

How can education empower youth to become tomorrow’s leaders

Worth going ‘extra mile’ for a new Syrian constitution, UN envoy urges

TTIP is not dead as of yet, the 15th round of negotiations in New York shouts

250+ senior claims leaders under one roof, exchanging transformation strategy

The importance and the need of mobile technology in the health care system and in saving lives

MEPs share concerns about COVID-19 variants

Here’s how we can make innovation more inclusive

ECB settles the bank resolution issue, makes banking union tangible

Davos on Climate Change: citizens demanding more actions while CEOs tried to balance profit with sustainability

Coronavirus: Commission expands talks to a fifth vaccine manufacturer

A 3-step plan for carbon-neutral cars

COVID-19 Update: Solidarity and Joint Efforts Shall be the Main Theme For China and Europe in the Fight Against the Outbreak

2018 Golden Pen of Freedom Awarded to Maria Ressa of the Philippines

Trump badly cornered at home by agribusiness and steel consumer lobbies: Trade

As conflicts become more complex, ‘mediation is no longer an option; it is a necessity’, UN chief tells Security Council

European Youth Forum on Summit on Jobs and Growth

The European reaction to the neo-fascist wind

Venezuelan exodus to Ecuador reaches record levels: UN refugee agency steps up aid

MEPs debate Brexit and relations with China following EU spring summit

Brexit may finally not really happen; The Brits have second thoughts

COVID-19: lessons from Italy on public-private healthcare procurement

Mental health and social isolation: how do have an active participation in self-care?

Climate change and health: creating global awareness and using earth resources wisely

How cocoa farming can help stop deforestation

5 ways the ocean can contribute to a green post-COVID recovery

Trying to cure bank cancer with analgesics

How Islamic finance can build resilience to climate change

COVID-19: Why we must take the widescreen view of workforce uncertainty

Want a more inclusive society? Start with mobility

Mental Health: Role of the individual for their well-being in the pandemic

EU confronts environmental threats as global leaders attempt to revive the global sentiment at NYC climate week

‘Free state aid’ for imprudent banks

We need natural solutions to fight ocean and climate risk

With field schools in Kenya, UN agriculture agency teaches techniques to combat drought

It’s time to switch to a four-day working week, say these two Davos experts

Why building consumer trust is the key to unlocking AI’s true potential

What paleoecology can teach us about fires in the Amazon

UN ‘regrets’ new US position on legality of Israeli settlements

In Yemen, Special Envoy sees UN role in preserving ‘essential’ aid pipeline at country’s major port

Eurozone bank rescues ‘a la carte’ until 2015 then only bail-ins

Peacekeeping chief honours Tanzanian troops in Zanzibar, a year on from deadly DR Congo attacks

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s