5G set to attract 130m MENA subscribers by 2026

5G set to attract 130m MENA subscribers by 2026
In a recent report published by Ericsson Mobility, time is of the essence in acquiring the necessary licensing when it comes to 4G and 5G connectivity. (AFP)
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Updated 16 December 2020

5G set to attract 130m MENA subscribers by 2026

5G set to attract 130m MENA subscribers by 2026
  • By 2025, each mobile phone user will be using 30GBs worth of data every month

JEDDAH: Around 130 million mobile phone users in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region will be subscribed to a 5G network by 2026, making up 15 percent of overall users, according to new estimates published this week.

In a recent report published by Ericsson Mobility, time is of the essence in acquiring the necessary licensing when it comes to 4G and 5G connectivity, as demand continues to rise.

By the end of 2020, subscription rates are expected to reach 1.4 million in Gulf countries, only a year after 5G deployment began in the MENA region as a whole.

The report indicated that the region is set to witness a sevenfold increase in its data consumption in the coming five years, with a single consumer going through 30GBs worth of data every month.

“This report highlights the fundamental need for good connectivity as a cornerstone for this change as the demand for capacity and coverage of cellular networks continues to grow,” Fadi Pharaon, president of Ericsson Middle East and Africa, said.

“Investing in network infrastructure and optimizing spectrum assignments to deliver expansive 5G connectivity are critical requirements to consider in this journey to herald a new era of end-user applications and devices,” he added.

Long-Term Evolution (LTE), the standard for wireless broadband communication for mobile devices, is set to take over 50 percent of the region’s data transmission by 2026, with it already attracting 30 percent of MENA subscribers by the end of 2020.

Meanwhile, mobile broadband subscribers are expected to account for 80 percent of total subscribers by 2026, with subscriptions this year expected to hit 65 million, in spite of limited connectivity in the MENA region.


IMF chief sees ‘high degree of uncertainty’ in global outlook

IMF chief sees ‘high degree of uncertainty’ in global outlook
Updated 40 sec ago

IMF chief sees ‘high degree of uncertainty’ in global outlook

IMF chief sees ‘high degree of uncertainty’ in global outlook
  • IMF had rapidly increased concessional financing to emerging market and developing economies
WASHINGTON: The head of the International Monetary Fund on Monday said the global lender needed more resources to help heavily indebted countries, citing a highly uncertain global economic outlook and a growing divergence between rich and poor countries.
IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva, who has long advocated a new allocation of the IMF’s own currency, Special Drawing Rights (SDRs), said doing so now would give more funds to use address both the health and economic crisis, and accelerate moves to a digital and green economy.
Under outgoing President Donald Trump, the United States, the IMF’s largest shareholder, has blocked such a new SDR allocation, a move akin to a central bank printing money, since it would provide more resources to richer countries since the allocation would be proportionate to their shareholding.
Swedish Finance Minister Magdalena Andersson, the new chair of the IMF’s steering committee speaking at an online news conference with Georgieva, said it was clear the need for liquidity remained great, and she would consult with member countries on options for expanding liquidity.
Andersson, the first European to head the International Monetary and Financial Committee in more than 12 years and the first women, started her three-year term in the role on Monday.
Georgieva said the IMF had rapidly increased concessional financing to emerging market and developing economies, including through donations by member countries of some $20 billion in existing SDRs. That would continue to play an important role, but further steps were needed, she said.
“It will continue to be so important, even more important, for us to be able to expand our capacity to support countries that have fallen behind,” Georgieva said.
She said a new SDR allocation had never been taken off the table by IMF members, she said, adding that some members continued to discuss it as a possible move. A possible sale of gold from the IMF’s reserves would have “some opportunity costs” for the IMF, but would be up to members, she said.
She said she expected the Group of 20 major economies to extend the current moratorium in official debt service payments by the poorest countries, now slated to end in June, but much would depend on the pace of vaccinations in coming months.