Up to 60 million 5G subscriptions in MEA by 2024

5G, or fifth generation technology, is a beefed-up version of the LTE/4G in terms of speed, capacity and responsiveness of wireless networks. (File/AFP)
Updated 16 October 2019

Up to 60 million 5G subscriptions in MEA by 2024

  • The 5G subscription in MEA will reach 60 million users from 2019 to 2024
  • 5G will help the oil and gas industry in terms of controlling the pipelines and making sure there is monitoring of remote areas

DUBAI: Initial 5G technology subscription in the Middle East and Africa (MEA) during the next five years – or by 2024 – would be almost double compared with the LTE/4G technology take-up for a similar period, Ahmed Ijaz, Ericsson’s principal consultant in Middle East and Africa, told Arab News.

The 5G subscription in MEA will reach 60 million users from 2019 to 2024, while 4G subscriptions topped 35 million users from 2011 to 2015 when the region saw initial LTE/4G deployments.

The 60 million number would be primarily dominated by countries in the Gulf, particularly Saudi Arabia and the UAE, Ijaz added.

5G, or fifth generation technology, is a beefed-up version of the LTE/4G in terms of speed, capacity and responsiveness of wireless networks. Saudi Arabia was the earliest to deploy 5G infrastructure across the Middle East.

With 5G technology eventually going mainstream, industries such as oil and gas – such as the use of drones with high-resolution 5G cameras connected to them – could harmonize their operations towards efficiency, Wojciech Bajda, the head of Ericsson GCC, told Arab News.

“In Saudi Arabia, we find that the value of 5G will come from a select set of industries and these include the oil and gas sector,” Ijaz said.

The network will help the industry in terms of controlling the pipelines and making sure there is monitoring of remote areas, Bajda meanwhile said.

Smart transportation, Ijaz added, is another sector in Saudi Arabia that will implement the 5G network to help make road infrastructure safer in the Kingdom. 

Smart traffic systems, for example – operating over a 5G network – could help ease the flow of traffic through monitored cameras and sensors.

On the consumer side, Bajda said that 5G technology for individuals is about experiencing better network speed.

“Today, especially in the GCC, video consumption is huge; people have better phones and higher resolution screens that will help provide better quality of service,” he said.

Mathias Johansson, head of Ericsson Saudi Arabia and Egypt, agreed, noting that one of the driving factors behind the large number of eventual 5G subscribers in the region would be the availability of 5G enabled smartphones.

STC and Ericsson signed in February a deal to deploy 5G technology in Saudi Arabia during the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

 

  


OPEC sees small 2020 oil deficit even before latest supply cut

Updated 12 December 2019

OPEC sees small 2020 oil deficit even before latest supply cut

  • OPEC keeps its 2020 economic and oil demand growth forecasts steady and is more upbeat about the outlook

LONDON: OPEC on Wednesday pointed to a small deficit in the oil market next year due to restraint by Saudi Arabia even before the latest supply pact with other producers takes effect, suggesting a tighter market than previously thought.

In a monthly report, OPEC said demand for its crude will average 29.58 million barrels per day (bpd) next year. OPEC pumped less oil in November than the average 2020 requirement, having in previous months supplied more.

The report retreats further from OPEC’s initial projection of a 2020 supply glut as output from rival producers such as US shale has grown more slowly than expected. This will give a tailwind to efforts by OPEC and partners led by Russia to support the market next year.

OPEC kept its 2020 economic and oil demand growth forecasts steady and was more upbeat about the outlook.

“On the positive side, the global trade slowdown has likely bottomed out, and now the negative trend in industrial production seen in 2019 is expected to reverse in 2020,” the report said.

Oil prices were steady after the report’s release, trading near $64 a barrel, below the level some OPEC officials have said
they favor.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, Russia and other producers, a group known as OPEC+, have since Jan. 1 implemented a deal to cut output by 1.2 million bpd to support the market. At meetings last week, OPEC+ agreed to a further cut of 500,000 bpd from Jan. 1 2020.

The report showed OPEC production falling even before the new deal takes effect.

In November, OPEC output fell by 193,000 bpd to 29.55 million bpd, according to figures the group collects from secondary sources, as Saudi Arabia cut supply.

Saudi Arabia told OPEC it made an even bigger cut in supply of over 400,000 bpd last month. The Kingdom had boosted production in October after attacks on its oil facilities in September briefly more than halved output.

The November production rate suggests there would be a 2020 deficit of 30,000 bpd if OPEC kept pumping the same amount and other factors remained equal, less than the 70,000 bpd surplus implied in November’s report and an excess of over 500,000 bpd seen in July. OPEC and its partners have been limiting supply since 2017, helping to revive prices by clearing a glut that built up in 2014 to 2016. But higher prices have also boosted US shale and other rival supplies.

In the report, OPEC said non-OPEC supply will grow by 2.17 million bpd in 2020, unchanged from the previous forecast but 270,000 less than initially thought in July as shale has not grown as quickly as first thought.

“In 2020, non-OPEC supply is expected to see a continued slowdown in growth on the back of decreased investment and lower drilling activities in US tight oil,” OPEC said, using another term for shale.