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Sustainability and collaboration are proving to be the keys to a better digital future for MEA, as 5G networks continue to enable Industry 4.0, smart cities and other forward-thinking applications.

5G networks will account for nearly a fifth of mobile connections in the Middle East and Africa (MEA) by 2025 and almost half of the connections in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states, according to the GSMA. As this momentum builds, 5G has great potential to spark innovation and economic growth across the region.

Consumers in the GCC states are already among the earliest adopters of 5G globally. With high smartphone penetration and increasing acceptance of remote work, e-learning and online gaming as examples, people are taking full advantage of 5G for fast downloads, ultra-high-definition (UHD) video and augmented and virtual reality. We are now also seeing new use cases for smart homes and autonomous public transport, alongside industry applications that promise to transform the region’s critical mining and oil and gas sectors, agriculture, infrastructure and more.

There is particular potential in applying next-generation digital technologies, including 5G, to the development of smart ports. The Middle East ports are already among the most productive in the world, driving both economic growth and diversification across the entire region. 5G will further strengthen port productivity and efficiency by enabling application scenarios such as port machinery remote control, intelligent tallying and unmanned horizontal transportation. This has been proven successful in the smart ports in China’s cities of Xiamen, Tianjin and Shanghai, as China Mobile worked closely with partners to upgrade innovation and improve key technologies, including 5G networks of different frequencies and the intelligent cargo handling system, to empower the industry’s advancement.

The development of 5G-enabled industrial parks is another trend with great promise for the MEA region. One such successful case was a recent project conducted by China Mobile International (CMI) for a European-based manufacturing customer, where 5G was adopted as the basis of connectivity across the industry park and as the foundation for AI and cloud solutions. With multi-access edge computing (MEC) and 5G networks, a full assortment of comprehensive coverage, real-time monitoring and analytics and easy management of operations and maintenance across business lines – from manufacturing and R&D to back-end office, logistics and sales – is now possible. The industrial park can easily improve efficiency, reduce energy consumption and ensure security for factories with a dedicated 5G network.

In addition to each of these exciting use cases, the potential exists for 5G to support sustainability, which is also a top priority for countries across MEA. Enabled by 5G, breakthroughs in IoT, AI and automation can help industries, infrastructure like ports and parks, and even whole cities operate more efficiently to save energy and reduce carbon emissions. The telecom industry also needs to step up with a sharper focus on sustainability and partnerships. As a world-leading 5G pioneer and advocate of 5G integration, CMI is committed to shaping a better and greener digital future by driving 5G innovation and adoption through healthy cooperation with carriers, enterprises and industry peers worldwide.

Dedicated to Sustainability

As part of China Mobile, CMI leverages its strengths to uphold a model of sustainability that contributes to wider economic, social and environmental development.

With faster speeds, more bandwidth and reduced latency, 5G networks can capture data and respond in real time to avoid inefficiency and waste. Driverless public transportation, which is now undergoing trials in several major cities in China, is a case in point. And in the MEA, Dubai is among the first cities globally to be exploring the use of self-driving electric taxis and buses as part of a plan to enhance urban life while saving fuel and reducing congestion.

Beyond supporting enterprises and organizations to leverage 5G technologies to improve sustainability, CMI also works to reduce the energy used by 5G networks themselves.

China Mobile has over 510 million 5G subscribers and the world’s largest 5G coverage, building more than 50% of 5G base stations globally. By introducing new technology layers and devices since 2019, it has already been able to reduce the electricity consumed by base stations by nearly 25%. CMI helps other carriers leverage China Mobile innovations to save electricity costs with, for example, a 5G Power Cabinet that increases energy efficiency by up to 17%, making the transition to 5G networks faster, simpler and more economical.

Committed to Partnership

In 2021, China Mobile launched its Green 5G Joint Innovation Lab with more than a dozen partners from various industries. This lab focuses on the development of new energy-saving technologies and products based on 5G, as well as the end-to-end integration of solutions. It is part of a global network of more than 30 China Mobile joint and open 5G innovation labs.

CMI believes that cross-industry partnerships are vital for helping energy-hungry enterprises in industries like energy generation, smelting and chemical manufacturing become more sustainable. To foster a more cooperative telecom ecosystem, CMI has presented its Hand-in-Hand Program (hi-H Program) since 2015. The program now has 27 members—leading companies in the industry that serve more than 4 billion mobile users and share a commitment to working together to advance 5G, IoT and other technologies to enable seamless global connectivity.

Further supporting telecom operators to seize opportunities afforded by 5G, China Mobile recently teamed up with Huawei and other partners to publish the 5G New Calling Technical White Paper. This resource provides a roadmap to guide operators in developing their 5G capabilities to optimize voice and video calls and deliver a variety of new applications. These include 5G UHD video calls, intelligent translation, smart customer service, remote collaboration and content sharing.

With telecom operators in MEA collectively building the infrastructure and solutions necessary to make exciting 5G services and innovations possible for consumers, businesses and industry, CMI will continue to work with partners across the region to help build an ecosystem for a smarter and more connected future.

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