Flow taking a cautious approach to 5G technology


Flow taking a cautious approach to 5G technology

Sunday, February 16, 2020

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With concerns about the impending introduction of 5G technology consuming the world, telecommunications firm Flow Jamaica says it is taking a cautious approach to the evolving technology.

5G is the fifth generation of cellular networks and it is expected to be one of the fastest wireless technologies ever created.

The development described as an expensive proposition, by Stephen Price, Flow's country manager, is expected to revolutionise data usage and increase integration and reliance on mobile across the consumer and business markets, transforming lifestyles and industries.

However, some challenges come with the introduction of 5G technology.

Among these are the affordability of the spectrum and the need for significantly more towers to facilitate signal transmission.

Price was among the presenters at a public forum titled: 'For Better or Worse? The Pros and Cons of 5G' hosted by the Mona School of Business and Management recently.

“We'll need to have several public and private stakeholder engagements around 5G technology to understand the benefits, the pros and the cons as well as the general direction we [Jamaica] should take.

“The fact is that the cost is too high for a country of our size, and 5G will require at least three to four times the number of towers,” Price shared.

He further stated that...“within the telecommunications industry, the transition to 5G is expected to generate a windfall for network, infrastructure, and equipment vendors. Global research and advisory firm Gartner predicts that worldwide 5G network infrastructure revenues will reach US$4.2 billion this year, recording year-over-year growth of 89 per cent.”

Price continued: “Flow is focused on continued investment in building out its network to bring more people into the digital space as well as shore up speed and capacity, we are also careful to note that consumer needs will be a crucial factor in rolling out 5G. It will, however, take some time before the technology is in operation in Jamaica. As a telecommunications provider, we must manage the expectations of our consumers, clear up the myths, and increase the awareness of the technology.”

Additionally, he noted that to satisfy the consumers' need for internet access, capacity, and speed, as well as affordability and reliability, telecommunication providers will need to focus on the required capital investment, market structure, spectrum availability, and regulations.

Dr Maria Myers-Hamilton, managing director at Spectrum Management Authority, is of the view that continued dialogue, as well as partnerships, could address some of the health and environmental concerns raised about 5G. She further highlighted the need for Jamaica to conduct its research into the technology.

“We have the capacity to serve the Caribbean.

We need to take ownership. We were once on the cutting edge of technology; we were the leaders in ICT. Let uspartner together, build our own lab, do our testing here, then we'll have our facts,” she declared, noting that studies done in first World countries may not apply to Jamaica.

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