Qatar may well be one of the first countries in the world to embrace “5G” or the fifth-generation wireless broadband technology, which will provide better speeds and coverage than the current 4G.
Although the 5G technology is not yet ready to hit the market, experts say the development of the fifth-generation wireless broadband technology is at a “crucial phase” with expected roll out in the next few years.
Similarly, handset manufacturers in the West and Asia are working on developing 5G-compliant mobile phones. These may be commercially available in the next few years, reports suggest.
Qatar’s two telecom providers, Ooredoo and Vodafone, have already said they are looking at the prospects of bringing 5G technology to Qatar.
Ooredoo Qatar CEO Waleed al-Sayed recently said that the telco was already laying the foundations for 5G services in Qatar and had signed agreements with global technology leaders to build the region’s first 5G research and development centre in Doha.
Vodafone Qatar CEO Ian Gray said the company would be “one of the fastest adopters” of 5G service.
The 5G technology launch is expected to prepare the ground for the ambitious global initiative - The Internet of Things (IoT), which may revolutionise telecommunications and enhance connectivity around the world.
IoT is the network of physical objects - devices, vehicles, buildings and other items - embedded with electronics, software, sensors, and network connectivity that enables these objects to collect and exchange data.
A forecast suggests that the market for IoT services will top $101bn this year, nearly 30% more than the $78bn that businesses spent last year.
By 2020, spending for services like network deployment, operations management and data analytics is forecasted to balloon to $257bn.
Experts estimate that the IoT will consist of billions of connected devices - almost up to 50bn by 2020.
According to industry experts, 5G will be the next big thing to revolutionise the way we connect.
The super-fast wireless network of the future is still likely at least a few years away from becoming a reality.
Nevertheless, it was a hot topic at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) that was held in Barcelona in February, where some of the world’s most innovative companies and influential technologists gathered to discuss the future of connectivity.
5G is expected to massively speed up the Internet and unlock the Internet of Things, making driverless cars and talking fridges a reality, but experts warn plenty of hurdles remain.
In future, 5G could have a whole range of applications underpinning the Internet of Things — the increasing inter-connection of everyday appliances — with uses as varied as transport, health or industrial machinery, for which 4G is completely unadapted.
That said, one of the major challenges in realising 5G will be to “connect the unconnected”. An estimate shows that about 4bn people around the world still has no Internet access at all!
Hence, 5G will require massive investment to create a truly global network- one that ensures near-total network coverage around the globe!
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