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5G Services to increase sub-saharan Africa GDP by $5.6bn

Telecommunications industry trade group, the GSM Association yesterday said the availability of fifth generation (5G) technology would increase the gross domestic product (GDP) of sub-Saharan Africa by $5.6 billion.

In its latest forecast on the global impact of 5G, the GSMA predicted a huge impact on the GDP of developing regions if mmWave spectrum is made available. By 2034, in the developing economies of South East Asia it expects the figure to be $45 billion, with the effect on Latin America valued at $20.8 billion.

The GSMA backed the use of mmWave for 5G services to fuel global economic growth of $565 billion by 2034, but cautioned this sum was being risked by attempts to block use of some frequencies by the space industry.

A global agreement on the use of mmWave technology is expected to be made at the World Radiocommunication Conference in Egypt, which begins in late October and runs for almost a month.

In a statement released as preparations for the event are being made, the GSMA slammed “protectionist attitudes” from some in the space industry, adding they threatened to derail the expected 5G economic growth. It added the attitude shown by the space industry was “ringing alarm bells throughout the mobile communications world.”

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Among the critics of the blanket use of mmWave frequencies for 5G are NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association in the US, which claim the technology would interfere with collection of data related to climate and weather forecasting.

The GSMA’s head of spectrum Brett Tarnutzer said, “We can’t let misinformation and the overly protectionist attitudes of the space industry derail the 5G revolution. Over-stringent protection will limit the spectrum needed for 5G and have huge consequences for society. This could put the economic and innovation bonanza accompanying ultra-fast networks on hold for a generation.”

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