Facing challenges and embracing the future of South Africa’s broadband

The 2018 MyBroadband Conference was held in Johannesburg, South Africa. In a keynote speech, Miguel Geraldes, Chief Strategy Architect of Huawei Southern Africa Region, said that social transformation was always in progress; 2G had enabled the global mobile call era, 3G and 4G have brought man into the mobile Internet era.

“The upcoming 5G will work with the latest Fiber technology to launch a new era of global mobile and broadband development, enabling an intelligent world with a higher rate, lower latency, and full network coverage,” Geraldes told the gathering.

Like the steam engine greatly improved efficiency and drove mankind into the industrial age, new 5G and fiber technologies will bring new broadband services. In recent years, the number of mobile users in South Africa has increased rapidly. According to the GSMA, the number of users in 2018 has reached 97 million (South Africa’s population is 57 million). It is estimated that the number of users will reach 100 million in 2021. The number of FTTx broadband access users has increased rapidly in recent years. The compound annual growth rate (CAGR) is up to 18%. Under the 5G+Fiber technology, it is estimated that the number of FTTx users will reach 2.6 million in 2021, according to IDC’s FTTX research project.

However the next generation broadband offerings will not be an overnight feat. In the development process, the global industry faces some common challenges. The 5G industry chain is still to be improved and challenges with terminals, networks, and spectrum and business models are still to be addressed.

“Wider fiber deployment is a prerequisite for 5G deployment. In addition, accelerating the development of 5G-oriented applications such as Fiber to Home, and resolving business issues such as lengthy return on investment (ROI), high TCO and insufficient content also needs to be addressed,” said Geraldes.

Planning and joint effort to address challenges

These challenges require concerted efforts by all role-players in ICT. At the policy level, we should jointly promote the optimization of ICT industry policies, plan spectrum resources in advance and reduce the difficulty in deploying optical fiber and wireless sites. When formulating the city optical fiber strategy and constructing the city fiber network, we should consider the requirements of wireless network, home broadband, enterprise access and safe city/smart city.

In terms of construction an industry ecosystem, we need to expand content alliances to enrich end users’ data life, improve user experience, cultivate user habits and promote traffic monetization.

At present, in terms of technology innovation, Huawei has released end-to-end 5G products and solutions and accumulated multiple patents. Huawei has established the Xlab and actively collaborates with more than 270 industry partners around the world to explore 5G applications. There are 47 joint innovation projects ongoing.

Customized solutions for fast developing market

In terms of scenario-based solutions, PoleStar, RuralStar, fiber series, and one-fiber multi-purpose solutions are customized for the fast developing market. At the business level, Huawei will work with global industry partners to help the future broadband development in South Africa and build customer business capabilities from technologies, ecosystems, applications, AI, cloud, professional services and consulting, to help customers build a better future broadband network.

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Facing challenges and embracing the future of South Africa’s broadband