5G technologies could bring up to $3.3 trillion to Latin America by 2035, according to a new study by Nokia and research firm Omdia.
The study, titled ‘Why 5G in Latin America?’, notes the uncertainty around the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic – yet alongside the projected $3.3tn in economic and social value promised by 5G, a $9tn improvement in productivity is also predicted.
“It is too early to be definitive about how Covid-19 will change behaviours and the patterns of 5G adoption in Latin America,” the report noted. “But it seems clear that increased demand for broadband can only help the 5G business case, especially in [fixed wireless access] for homes and businesses.”
The pandemic, however, can be seen as a major opportunity point for digitisation of essential sectors, such as healthcare and emergency services, manufacturing, and the supply chain. Yet a major roadblock remains; a gap between the haves and have-nots for broadband penetration and connectivity.
This is similar to the reports from the Asia Cloud Computing Association (ACCA) regarding the Asia Pacific region; countries such as China and India score poorly because of the disparity between the rich and poor regions. Brazil, another BRIC region, is therefore set to be a major beneficiary according to the report; $1.22tn of 5G economic impact and an increase in productivity of just over $3tn.
“The need for better quality emergency communications will encourage the deployment of network slices, a key feature of the coming versions of 5G. In the future of what is often called Industry 4.0, a large part of the new value creation will be around the ability for humans to remotely see, understand, manage, operate, fix, and generally interact with all manner of physical systems and machines – and that will be possible with 5G.”
The report also outlines recommendations for service providers, particularly with regard to upgrading 4G to make it 5G-ready. Policy makers, meanwhile, are encouraged to finish allocating 4G spectrum to enable a ‘clear spectrum policy roadmap and an infrastructure policy which both encourages and facilitates the private sector to invest in 5G.’
“Latin American countries must diversify their sources of income and jobs into higher value-added activities,” said Wally Swain, principal consultant for Omdia Latin America. “Activities including mining and manufacturing must become more productive and 5G will play an important role on this.”
You can read the full report here (pdf, email required).
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