The first commercial 5G networks and devices based on the 3GPP standards are expected in 2018
Saudi telecom operator Mobily, along with Ericsson held a demo of 5G technology at the Mall of Arabia in Jeddah, in the western region of Saudi Arabia.
Ericsson supplied a standalone end-to-end 5G system including a prototype 3.5GHz radio, baseband and prototype UE device to support Mobily’s 5G demo.
During the event, Mobily and Ericsson showcased 5G throughput, targeting speeds up to 1Gbps.
The demo was aimed to showcase the benefits of 5G technology.
On the consumer front, 5G will deliver high data speeds and low latency, and on the industries front, the technology is anticipated to assist new and emerging use cases in sectors such as autonomous fleet management, robotics and critical machine-to-machine communication in healthcare.
“We are wholly supportive of Saudi Vision 2030 and the push towards enhancing our digital economy,” said Mobily CTO Mazid Al Harbi.
“Our investment in 5G is demonstrative of our commitment to improving network performance and enhancing the customer experience across Saudi Arabia.”
Globally, the first commercial 5G networks and devices based on the 3GPP standards are expected in 2018, and regional operators are pushing to meet this timeline.
According to the Ericsson Mobility report, first-generation, 5G data-only devices are expected from the second half of 2018. The first commercial smartphones supporting 5G in the mid-bands are expected early next year, while support for very high spectrum bands is expected in early to mid-2019.
Ericsson estimates the number of 5G subscriptions will reach one billion by the end of 2023.
In May, UAE telecoms provider Etisalat said it had launched the first commercial 5G network in the Middle East and North Africa.
The announcement followed confirmation from the UAE’s Telecommunications Regulation Authority (TRA) in December that the country’s mobile operators would begin deploying ultra-fast 5G networks in phases from early this year.
Under the first phase of the launch, Etisalat will provide 5G fixed wireless services in select locations and gradually expand to other parts of the country based on consumer demand and requirements.
These will be available to customers starting from September.