June 30, 2022

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Ericsson forecasts 5G Network to be a gamechanger in Education and Health Care

Erik Ekkuden, Senior Vice President and Group Chief Technical Officer of Ericsson during an Interview in Kigali, on Monday

By Ange de la Victoire DUSABEMUNG

Ericsson has confirmed that the 5G Network will transform operations and services, especially in the fields of Education, Health and Agriculture.

These changes are expected to make a significant impact on the African continent as the use of digital services continues to grow on the continent.

According to the 2021 Ericsson Mobility report 5G Network will account for nearly half of all mobile subscriptions by 2027. This means 49% of all mobile subscriptions by 2027.

The same report also mentioned that 4G has rocketed from 9 million to a projected 4.7 billion subscriptions by the end of 2021.

In an Interview with Erik Ekkuden, Senior Vice President and Group Chief Technical Officer of Ericsson, said that “5G will be the dominant technology around the world already by 2027.”

He emphasised that having good mobile broadband coverage is the foundation for remote health or remote education.

“We are moving into upgrades from 4G into 5G and in five years or less, it will be the dominant technology all around the world. And also here in Africa, the uptake of subscriptions is very high. It’s actually the highest in the world. With the uptake of smartphones, the growth per year is actually highest here in Africa when it comes to smartphone objects, of course from somewhat lower numbers, but it’s also showing the importance of having a strong digital infrastructure with both 4G and 5G to serve the continent.” Erik said.

Although 5G is still in its trial in some countries, Erik noted that “a large part of the African countries, the use of 5G is what lies ahead in the years to come.”

“But as I said already by 2027, we expect it to be the dominant technology globally and a significant part also here in Africa being 5G.” He added.

Commenting on the opportunities for digitization of Africa and especially to Rwanda, Eric said “the learnings over the last two years, they indicate that this is the new way and is actually the only way to provide affordable care and health to countries.”

“This is true in Africa. This is true in Rwanda. But this is basically true in most parts of the world. So now we’re going to use the learnings from the tragedy of the pandemic, to make this a new digital infrastructure for health and new services, new applications for the healthcare sector that can run on top of the network platform, on top of the digital infrastructure that 4g and 5g constitute.” He added.

Leveraging connectivity to address inclusion and access to education

Among other things, Erik says that Ericsson continues to work with various partners to provide education through the Internet.

He gave an example of the Giga Project which aims to connect every school to the internet by 2030 and every young person to information, opportunity, and choice.

“We think that we can do very much based on the technology that is available today, 4G and soon 5G because that provides the lowest cost of access. Lowest cost of connectivity has global scale, and it allows basically the whole world to be connected through mainstream technologies. So, our main focus is to make sure that we get connectivity to schools.” He said.

“For example, we have a project called Giga together with ITU and UNICEF where we are mapping schools all around the world. There are millions of schools that don’t yet have connectivity”, Erik explained

“And then the next stage is to drive finance, financing of the connectivity for these schools and then connect them with the latest technologies and 5G, 4G, and in some cases, satellite technologies, and this would allow the schools to be connected.

On top of that we have learning and education services. From an Ericsson point of view, we are supporting a learning package. Also, through the smart Africa initiatives, we can see how we can be a facilitator for new knowledge on 5G, on IoT, on artificial intelligence and machine learning all the way to basic digital skills for primary school students.” He added

Apart from contributing to the Giga Project, Erik also highlighted that through Ericsson’s “Connect to learn”, the company is working with local authorities to provide basic education packages.

“So, we think that the time is really now to focus on the build out of broadband connectivity to everyone, to schools, but also to home so that we can promote remote education and what we are doing in the setting when you cannot go to school or when that’s not feasible for other reasons. That connectivity underpins all of the education initiatives that Ericsson is doing. And then we work with partners. I mentioned a few own initiatives, but we also work with partners, such as ITU and UNICEF and another set and well basically organisations that have reached even further into the education system,” said Erik.

What are the latest technologies deployed by Ericsson to support mobile financial services?

On this Question, Erik responded that the company has been supporting mobile money services or basic payment services since quite some time.

“We are doing this here in Rwanda, we’re doing it in other parts of the world. “he said.

“We are also working with the ecosystem on more advanced FinTech applications that can run on top of the platform that Ericsson is providing.” He added.

“So, this means to open up the payment platform or the financial services platform for others to innovate on top of the platform and we believe that’s an important step because that allows others in the ecosystem to contribute.

So, we are providing the base and we are also of course serving our customers with full-fledged mobile money solutions that are already at scale across Africa.” He explained.

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