MTN Group CEO Rob Shuter has moved to downplay the short-term impact and potential of 5G wireless technology, particularly in the markets in which it operates, saying it’s a “technology searching for an application”.
Speaking to the media after the presentation of the group’s interim results for the six months to 30 June 2018 on Wednesday, Shuter said 5G won’t be rolled out in the same way that technologies before it — such as 3G and 4G — have been deployed.
Rather, he said, 5G will be deployed in selected areas only and even then, will only be done on a use-case basis to support specific applications, be it for robotics or closed-circuit television cameras or a factory that has a demand for it.
His remarks come even as MTN has run trials using the technology, including one at its head office earlier this year with networking equipment supplier Ericsson. It also recently conducted a field trial with Huawei. Both trials showed the multi-gigabit speeds offered by 5G as well as the low latencies — network round-trip times — that are more akin to fixed fibre connections.
The equipment needed for 5G isn’t on sale yet, he said. “There’s not a single 5G smartphone in the world.”
In the markets in which MTN operates — in Africa and the Middle East — 5G will not have a big impact in the short term, with most subscribers continuing to be served by 2G, 3G and 4G infrastructure. — © 2018 NewsCentral Media