Ericsson MEA Region Perspective: Rafiah Ibrahim reflects On Mobile World Congress 2018

News Story Ericsson, RaffiahMobile World Congress (MWC) 2018 was indeed a great platform, every year we all get together to meet our customers, partners and meet with the media, offering us the opportunity to interact and look at the evolution of our industry.  This year, we hosted our guests at our Ericsson’s Hall “The Do Zone”.

Our priority now is to enable our customers to capture the full value of connectivity. The company portfolio across Networks, Digital Services, Managed Services and Emerging Business is geared to make our customers more efficient, go digital, and find new revenue streams. Ericsson’s investments in innovation have delivered the benefits of telephony and mobile broadband to billions of people around the world.

This year, at MWC, we have showcased the powerful engagement, value and growth that comes with innovation in 5G, Internet of Things (IoT) and digital operations.  With our live technology demonstrations and customer collaborations, we have shown why emerging technologies are essential to maximize business potential.  We also highlighted our focus on innovation with cool and collaborative new technologies and business concepts.

Middle East Africa is a very dynamic market area and each country has its own technology agenda.  Some countries in the Middle East are at the forefront of a digital driven market with serious efforts focused on digitalization and globalization maintaining an ecosystem that is interconnected by digital platforms aided by seamless flow of information and ideas that have changed the way people live and do business.

Africa remains the fastest growing mobile market.  At the end of 2017, there were 700 million mobile subscribers in Sub-Saharan Africa, equivalent to a penetration rate of 65 percent. The region continues to grow faster than any other region at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of six percent for the next five years reaching close to one billion mobile subscriptions by 2023, by which time more than 90 percent of the population in Africa will subscribe to a mobile service.

Operators are focusing more on network investments that will increase coverage and capacity, enable connectivity to more people.

In this dynamic market area, Ericsson is engaging with its customers in many different areas:

  • Build the foundation on today’s 4G to meet the needs of tomorrow – The journey towards improved efficiency, new experiences, and new customer segments is more critical now as the demand for mobile services is greater than ever. Mobile data traffic grew exponentially and by 2023, the traffic generated by smartphones will increase by eight times. Mobile video traffic is forecast to grow by around 50 percent annually through 2023 to account for nearly 75 percent of all mobile data traffic.

Operators must keep up with these ever-changing requirements on their services and networks.

At the same time, operators are challenged in growing their revenues and profitability. As a consequence, they must seek new ways to increase efficiency, monetize their assets and expand into new business areas.   We support operators in evolving their networks in the most resource efficient and powerful way. We ensure a network evolution with focus on the future of networks with 5G and real business value.

  • Create new business on the wave of industry digitalization – Today, many operators are challenged with a lack of revenue growth in their core business. In parallel, industries are going through changes as technological progress enables digitalization generating advantages in efficiency, service improvement, and business development.

Digitalization provides a new wave of opportunities for value creation. Operators are transforming their businesses to capitalize on this. We help our customers to transform their infrastructure, operations and business models to meet this evolving demand.

  • This year we are also inviting our customer to Engage Digitally – Only by becoming truly data driven you can make your customers’ life easier – creating digital engagements with the customer experience and level of automated operations that are on par with digital native companies is becoming a priority.
  • And finally, we are calling for Co-Innovation – Shaping the future with technology and business innovations. We are dedicated to innovation for the benefit of our customers and their clients, and for nurturing entire eco-systems.   Some of the essential technology components that are on display in this area in the hall are in the fields of hardware and artificial intelligence.
  • And in the Middle East & Africa, we have announced today our plan to create innovation hubs serving Middle East and Africa following the same global concept of Ericsson Garage. The Ericsson Garage is an open innovation platform, inspired by startup methodology where we will engage with our customers in a closed dialog on how new products and innovations can fulfill their needs .
  • Ericsson Garage in Kista, Sweden is where it all started, however ground-breaking ideas need a space to flourish in every corner of the planet to benefit humanity. That’s why Ericsson started opening several affiliates across the globe in different locations.

Here are few examples that were announced in the past few days:

Ericsson and Saudi Telecom Company (STC) sign two MoUs for strategic 5G collaboration and consumer & enterprise digital services

As part of Ericsson’s longstanding partnership with Saudi Telecom Company (STC), both companies will work on creating a strategic roadmap for evolution of the network to the next-gen 5G technology. This was part of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that was signed in Barcelona at the Mobile World Congress 2018. Ericsson has also signed a second MoU with STC in Barcelona. The MoU will focus on identifying key digital services use cases, targeting faster time-to-market for new service offerings, network monetization and building IT capabilities based on existing systems.

 Zain Group and Ericsson Create Roadmap To 5G

Zain Group and Ericsson have announced they have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to jointly develop and test selected 5G and Internet of Things (IoT) cases. The MoU, signed during Mobile World Congress 2018 in Barcelona, demonstrates the commitment of both companies to bringing next-generation connectivity and its accompanying benefits to the Middle East and Africa.

Jazz selects Ericsson to optimize their complete Radio Network

Ericsson has signed a contract with Pakistan Mobile Communications Ltd (Jazz) in Pakistan for the optimization and performance management of its complete Radio Network. Coupled with Ericsson’s innovative expertise in the area, this partnership will allow Jazz to enhance the overall cellular experience of its customers.

Zain Iraq and Ericsson offer boosted data services

In preparation for the anticipated increase in data traffic and demand in Iraq, Zain Iraq has invested in the implementation of Ericsson’s award-winning virtual Evolved Packet Core (vEPC) solution nationwide. The deal is Ericsson’s first vEPC contract in Iraq, and one of the first in the Middle East and Africa (MEA) region.

Ericsson and Zain Bahrain Deploy First Active Cooling Enclosure

Ericsson’s state of the art Outdoor Enclosure 6150 HEX/AirCon has been utilized by Zain Bahrain to install indoor mobile sites with shelters and air-conditioning

The original systems that Zain Bahrain was using consumed high amounts of power, and operational costs. Ericsson’s Enclosure is a multi-purpose site cabinet, which is designed to support a multitude of radio equipment, providing a highly capable power system and battery back-up; all in a streamlined design and minimized footprint to support the cost-efficient expansion of mobile broadband, as well as aligning with the national environmental plan which is part of Bahrain’s Economic Vision.

Safaricom Awards Ericsson Next Generation NOC deployment

Safaricom has awarded Ericsson and its partner HPE (Hewlett Packard Enterprise) deployment of the Next Generation NOC, which is a five-pillar project, supported by Ericsson, to guide the business along its transformational journey. This project is based on 5 pillars: views, process, people, infrastructure and tools is expected to further support Safaricom in improving two key aspects that would significantly improve the network performance.

In summary, together with our customers, we are building the foundation on today’s 3G, 4G to meet the needs of tomorrow with 5G and IoT, creating new business opportunities on the wave of industry digitalization.

Today, we have an opportunity to create historical change with technology as a key enabler.  Shaping the future with technology and business innovations.

The Middle East and Africa is well positioned to adopt all these technologies at different levels.  Our role, as Ericsson in this market, is to bring these innovations, support our customers with advanced technologies and work with them and our partners to build an innovative future that leverages technology to create a positive change.

Rafiah Ibrahim is Senior Vice President and Head of Market Area Middle East & Africa

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