Why 5G network vital in scaling up economic growth

The rollout of 5G network technology by Vodacom Tanzania has paved the way for digital transformation and an impetus that will facilitate rapid economic development.

The 5G technology which has revolutionised the way people communicate is expected to play a vital role in supporting the country’s move towards the fourth industrial revolution outfitted with superpowers such as capacity, speed and lightning-fast response time.

The country’s first 5G network technology was launched in Dar es Salaam by Vodacom in September this year providing users with fast internet a speed of up to 400 megabits-per-second (Mbps), while the company plans to boost the speed to offer more than 800Mbps in the coming months.

The 5G is the wireless network that promises to deliver broadband speeds, low latency and high reliability.

The network technology will allow people to connect more conveniently. It is set to open up new opportunities for businesses and be a game changer for the Tanzanian economy.

The Minister for Information, Communication and Information Technology, Mr Nape Nnauye said at the event that the launch of the 5G technology network is an important milestone and a big step for the country’s digital economy journey and fourth industrial revolution.

He said the launch of the 5G network joins Tanzania with an elite league of countries in Africa and the world which have launched the latest technology. The future is innovation and this is a good step.

“I commend Vodacom for paving the way for digital transformation in Tanzania, and the government fully supports this breakthrough through its various sector ministries because we know technology has the power to transform lives and help the country achieve SDG targets in areas such as health, agriculture, energy, logistics and many more.

I call on entrepreneurs, businesses, innovators, and ministries to tap into this 5G network and transform this nation. The government pledges its support to you,” he said.

Through TCRA Tanzania is embarking on great digital development projects such as constructing the National Fibre Optic Cable network named National ICT Broadband Backbone (NICTBB) to achieve greater connectivity across the country and beyond

The emerging technologies of the 4th industrial revolution that would be fully complemented by the network include Artificial Intelligence, the Internet of Things, Big Data and/or Data Science, 3D printing, Blockchain technologies, neuro-technologies, genetic modifications, drones, autonomous vehicles, and machine visions among others.

Vodacom Tanzania Director of Network, Mr Andrew Lupembe provided context on why it was important to adopt 5G instead of enhancing 4G.

“The 4G network is good, but due to community demands, there was a need for higher technology with low latency, hence 5G. It will address a lot of challenges in Tanzania,” he explained.

For example in the manufacturing sector, the faster and more reliable connectivity, industries can digitally transform their businesses and manufacture their products in much smarter ways.

Being one of the key economic sectors in the country, the industrial and manufacturing sectors will be significantly supported by the 5G technology in areas such as operational effectiveness, enabling faster and more effective inspections through predictive intelligence; and improving workplace and worker safety.

Another key industrial advancement area that 5G can enable is particularly related to logistics and machinery/equipment such that material flow is automated. It delivers material from storage to the production line, without any human interference.

The 5G technology can also assist industries to manage their carbon footprint and bridge the digital divide, hence helping Tanzania work towards achieving SDG goal 13 which is climate action.

The 5G technologies play a key role in the modernization of the manufacturing and industry sector in Tanzania, providing multiples of capacity while becoming more energy efficient.

The 5G which will enable technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), and the Internet of Things (IoT) will influence uses and applications across various sectors that can drive down costs, energy usage, emissions, and waste and mitigate climate change.

With 5G, innovative network technologies enable service providers to introduce new services that in turn support societies and enterprises to reduce their carbon emission footprint

Tanzania’s government has mentioned that one of the priority areas in the National Financial Inclusion Framework (NFIF) include ensuring the existence of a robust electronic information infrastructure for individuals and businesses to access financial services.

With the rising number of mobile device ownerships, the fast internet from the 5G technology will support the country’s financial inclusion agenda, by facilitating easy access to the formal financial services provided by commercial banks and mobile operators.

Trade/Commercial sector

As data use increases, the digital economy can be scaled up in Tanzania and 5G technology will further improve digital entrepreneurship and innovation, especially the Micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) that are seeking to enter and/or are in the online market.

So far according to the recent report by Tanzania Communication Regulatory Authority (TCRA), internet subscription has reached 31.1 million as of September 2022.

There has also been a significant uptick in consumer e-commerce activity fueled by the Covid-19 pandemic, where online shopping and online retail sales have increased substantially. This also includes business-to-business” (B2B) trading.

These subscriptions according to TCRA are either through cable modem, DSL, fibre-to-the-home/building, other fixed (wired) broadband subscriptions, satellite broadband, and terrestrial fixed wireless.

Being the backbone of the Tanzanian economy, the agricultural sector stands to benefit a great deal from 5G technology.

To help the agricultural sector become connected using advanced tech, 5G could pave the way for innovations such as autonomous vehicles, drone technology and real-time data collection.

This in turn could enable better management of both crops (for example being able to interpret and react quickly to soil sensors and weather conditions) and livestock (for example, managing their movements, health and milk yields).

The government is rapidly digitalizing public health and social welfare services by increasing the use of information systems, information and communication technology, and digital data management and 5G will be a huge part of it.

The technology can also be used to revolutionize the medical field in Tanzania by providing high reliability and low latency services that promise innovations such as robotic aids during surgery to increase accuracy and ambulance drones to provide real-time incident coverage.

Vodacom Group CEO, Shameel Joosub said, “Having been first to launch 5G in Africa, this is an exciting milestone in Vodacom’s history as we continue to densify 5G services across our Africa markets, bringing the continent closer to the global digital economy through the latest generation of mobile technology,”

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