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Revolutionizing AI-powered Intelligence with 5.5G building upon the success of 5G in the Middle East

الاثنين - 08 يناير 2024

Mon - 08 Jan 2024

In the ever-evolving landscape of technology, the Middle East has emerged as a frontrunner in embracing cutting-edge innovations, particularly in deploying 5G networks over the past five years, enabling remarkable progress across various industries. By June 2023, there were over 260 commercial 5G networks worldwide, over 1.2 billion 5G users, and over 50,000 5G industry applications. In the 5G era, mobile communications networks have created new experiences for people as the major media for connecting people shifts from voice and SMS to video. It enabled seamless communication and digitalization across markets.

The growth of 5G has been truly remarkable. The speed of network deployment, adoption, consumer services, and industry applications has exceeded expectations. To put this into perspective, over 260 5G networks have been deployed globally, covering nearly half of the world's population. In comparison, 4G took six years to reach the same milestone.

By leveraging the lightning-fast speeds, low latency, and high bandwidth of 5G, the Middle East region has embraced a digital revolution. Industries such as healthcare, manufacturing, logistics, transportation, and smart cities have already experienced groundbreaking changes. 5G has revolutionized healthcare services, allowing remote consultations, surgery assistance through telemedicine, and data-driven patient monitoring. Manufacturing processes have become more efficient with the integration of 5G-enabled robotic systems, IoT devices, and real-time data analytics. Logistics and transportation sectors have embraced smarter supply chain management, asset tracking, and autonomous vehicles, all made possible by the power of 5G connectivity. Additionally, smart cities in the region are utilizing 5G capabilities for enhanced public services, intelligent traffic management, and efficient resource allocation.

The global ICT leader Huawei has helped 14 regional operators deploy 5G networks since 2018, helping its customers lead in 5G experience. At a recent event, distinguished industry leaders May Li, Huawei Middle East & Central Asia Carrier Business Group, Solution and Marketing VP, and Emaad Ahmed, Chief Expert Network Architecture Transformation & Principal Solution Consultant, Huawei Middle East & Central Asia Carrier Business Group shared the company’s vision and plans to aid the region’s evolution to 5.5G.

Huawei reiterated that 5G has been a game-changer for the Middle East, but the future lies in the evolution to 5.5G. The introduction of 5.5G represents a significant leap forward in mobile communications technology, promising even more astonishing capabilities. Key features of 5.5G include a 10 Gbps downlink, a 1 Gbps uplink, support for 100 billion connections, and native intelligence. With these capabilities, the potential applications of 5.5G are limitless.

Saudi Arabia is making remarkable strides in the 5G landscape. All three operators deployed their 5G networks around 2019. Currently, there are over 11 million 5G subscribers, 10% of whom are FWA (Fixed Wireless Access) users with 5G-supported home broadband. In the Kingdom, the 5G population coverage exceeds 80%. With average speeds having doubled from 2019, the country ranks among the top 15 globally. New spectrum allocations are underway, positioning Saudi Arabia for further growth. Its 5G network coverage stands at 70%, with speeds of 360 Mbps driving digital transformation. This enables advanced use cases and services.

Furthermore, we have observed key industry sectors adopting 5G. The most common 5G solution is private line services, with tens of thousands of enterprises benefiting from features such as flexibility, fast deployment, and fiber-like speeds at a much lower cost.

Additionally, several key sectors have leveraged 5G features to deploy smart solutions for improving safety, security, and efficiency. This includes collaborating with operators to deploy smart port solutions in Dammam.

Zain KSA has experienced significant business success with the early adoption of 5G services in Saudi Arabia since 2019. In September 2023, the company unveiled new developments on the 5G-Advanced network in collaboration with Huawei in September this year. In pursuit of a shared objective to bring about an era of unmatched connectivity, the two companies are presently engaged in the '5.5G City Innovation Project' in the Kingdom.

5.5G will not only transform our smartphones and mobile devices but also reshape entire industries. One of the most exciting aspects of 5.5G is its impact on the Internet of Things (IoT). With support for 100 billion connections, it will facilitate the seamless connectivity of billions of IoT devices, revolutionizing industries such as healthcare, logistics, and smart cities.

Huawei has already initiated work with our partners in KSA on R&D and verification of key 5.5G technologies. Significant progress has been made in this verification process, specifically for extremely large antenna array (ELAA) which underpins 10 gigabit downlink, flexible spectrum access which helps realize gigabit uplink, and passive IoT which can enable 100 billion IoT connections. Also 50G PON is another key technology that can enable 10 gigabit speeds for F5.5G ultra-broadband networks, and is expected to be extensively used in homes, campuses, and productions in the future and a key technology we hope to support the kingdom in deploying and delivering to the tech savy, forward looking masses of the country, Emaad Ahmed, Chief Expert Network Architecture Transformation & Principal Solution Consultant, Huawei Middle East & Central Asia Carrier Business Group explained.

5.5G will also power new experiences in augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR). The 10 Gbps downlink ensures that high-quality, real-time 3D experiences, like those showcased in the 5.5G Villa in the UAE, become the norm. These advancements promise to blur the lines between the digital and physical worlds, unlocking new realms of creativity and entertainment.

“As new developments in AI, such as foundation models, continue to rise, the demand for AI computing power is expected to grow explosively. By 2025, this demand is projected to be 100 times greater than current levels. Advanced network capabilities are essential to unlock the full potential of AI computing power. Networks will need larger bandwidth and lower latency to enable truly intelligent connectivity,” explained May Li, Huawei Middle East & Central Asia Carrier Business Group, Solution and Marketing VP.

“As we move into the 5.5G era, its integration with AI is expected to revolutionize many sectors by providing the high-speed, low-latency, and reliable connectivity that AI systems require for optimal performance,” Li added.

Huawei stated that 5.5G would be a critical enabler for advanced AI applications, including autonomous vehicles and remote medical procedures, by offering the necessary network improvements to support these technologies.

The introduction of 5.5G will push edge computing from a conceptual stage to an essential part of business strategy, allowing for more immediate data processing at the source rather than in distant data centres. This will lead to transformative changes in urban development, manufacturing, and the Internet of Things (IoT), propelling us toward more efficient and insightful operations across the board.

For the IoT ecosystem, 5.5G will play a central role in creating a seamlessly connected world where AI can work harmoniously with billions of devices, facilitating large-scale automation and data analysis. This will lead to smarter residential, agricultural, and urban infrastructure, boosting productivity and fostering better environmental management.

Overall, 5.5G is anticipated to lay the groundwork for significant strides in industry innovation and the broader application of AI. As consumers, industries, and societies embrace these advances, we can look forward to a future where connectivity knows no bounds, where immersive experiences become the norm, and where the possibilities of technology continue to astound and inspire.