International Finance

5G to boost MENA’s GDP by $15.4 bn

Saudi Arabia and UAE will be among the top contributors

5G technology will contribute around $15.4 billion or an estimated 1.1 percent of GDP growth to the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region’s GDP by 2034, according to GSMA, a UK-based trade body that represents the interests of mobile network operators worldwide.

Many Gulf countries including Saudi Arabia and UAE are expected to be among the major contributors. The UAE was one of the first countries in the MENA region and also in the world to launch 5G network services earlier in 2019.

Around 3000 delegates from more than 190 countries are expected to meet at the World Radiocommunication Conference 2019 (WRC19), which is scheduled to take place in Egypt from October 28 to November 22, 2019.

Jawad Abbassi, head of MENA – GSMA told the media, “The Arab states must stand strong at WRC19 to protect their interests. WRC19 is the only opportunity for years to come for countries to identify mmWave spectrum for 5G use, enabling the delivery of innovative new services for their citizens and industries.”

He added, “The stakes are high – a new generation of 5G services will depend on the spectrum decisions taken by governments at WRC19. The MENA region stands to benefit from better healthcare and education, as well as new benchmarks in industrial productivity, entertainment services, and smart transport, but only if we can secure the needed spectrum.”

The GSMA report highlights that the deployment of 5G technologies in the MENA region could be delayed significantly if the leaders fail to garner adequate support at the World Radiocommunication Conference.

An earlier report by Ericsson revealed that 5G subscriptions in the Middle East and Africa (MEA) could reach 60 million by 2024. Ericsson expects most of the 5G subscribers to be from Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

Meanwhile, another report suggested that 15 percent of the UAE’s populated areas shall have 5G coverage by the end of this year.

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