The future is bright for telecoms in the Gulf, says Ericsson's Chafic Traboulsi.
The GCC’s telecoms market is “more advanced” than Europe is today, says an Ericsson executive – a situation which he says has never happened before in the telecommunications industry.
Chafic Traboulsi, regional vice president and head of networks for the Middle East and Africa at Ericsson, says the Gulf is among the world leaders in 5G. Speaking on the sidelines of the SAMENA Telecommunications Council’s Leaders’ Summit in Dubai on April 18, he also said as great as the progress has been, much work remains until affordable 5G is available for everyone in the region.
“It’s a more advanced market than Europe today when it comes to telecoms,” he says.
“This has never been the case [before].”
However, as developed as the GCC market is, Traboulsi said business can’t become complacent. “There needs to be fresh thinking.”
He added it’s also important not to “overhype” 5G until the use cases justify the technology.
“We shouldn’t overhype it,” he says.
“We should be cautious in order to not drive expectations that won’t be met. That (over-hyping) could backfire. We need to not overdo it.”
In order to facilitate the growth of 5G, as well as to relieve challenges on existing capacity, Traboulsi said a relatively easy solution would be to make more signal space – or “spectrum” – available to be used. More spectrum could especially be a “reliever” for the exponential rise in capacity created by ever-more data being collected and consumers streaming, uploading and downloading more video than ever before and running applications online.
Overall, he said he’s optimistic for the future of 5G in the region.
“The region is taking the right steps. There’s a lot that needs to be done – but this region is doing that.”
And 6G? It’s still “quite a ways off,” said Traboulsi.
This year’s edition of the SAMENA Leaders’ Summit – as with most years – was held at Atlantis, The Palm, at the top of the Palm Jumeirah in Dubai. With Huawei as the main sponsor for the sixth consecutive year, this year’s theme was 5G. The event brought together CEOs from major Middle East and African operators, as well as suppliers, vendors and more – including top executives from companies across the telecommunications ecosystem from around the world. Also participating were several government ministers, from both the UAE and abroad.
As an integral part of the SAMENA Leaders’ Summit, to accelerate the large-scale deployment of 5G, Huawei hosted the “5G is ON” Forum, which served as an occasion for 5G industry partners to discuss how emerging 5G-enabled intelligent services and innovations may help telecommunications operators to identify new business opportunities, thereby enhancing prospects for achieving growth.