Blackouts shouldn’t delay 5G

Increased 5G penetration could lead to the development of new products, services and business models.

Telecommunications companies have been given five years to deploy 5G networks across the country, including rural areas – which will help to reduce the cost of data, enable affordable, high-speed internet access for all and accelerate the advancement of emerging technologies in the country.

However, as SA has experienced its highest-yet record for load shedding this year, the deadline might not be attainable, which will have a knock-on effect on the country’s competitiveness, innovativeness, and economic growth.

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To mitigate this, it is essential to forge public-private partnerships to keep the delivery timeframe on track. If the roll-out of 5G is halted, SA will be deprived of the fast speeds, increased data capacity and low latency that these networks can offer.

What this means is that SA will lag behind the rest of the world with technological advancement. This is already evident with SA ranking 60th in the world out of 63 countries for competitiveness.

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Increased 5G penetration could, however, lead to the development of new products, services and business models. And with these networks enabling faster communication, collaboration and access to information, this could help increase the productivity of SA businesses.

Ultimately, these shifts could contribute to much-needed economic growth. In line with the findings of the Digital Africa: Technological Transformation for Jobs report, delayed 5G deployment cannot continue if SA is to address social and economic challenges such as poverty, unemployment and inequality which plague SA.

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The electricity crisis should not be a roadblock to innovation but rather an opportunity for collaboration.

-Motsamai is marketing and communications manager for MakwaIT Technologies

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