GSMA THRIVE LATIN AMERICA: GSMA director general Mats Granryd (pictured) urged governments and regulators in Latin America to swiftly lay the groundwork for 5G deployments to help meet increased demand for digital technologies in a post Covid-19 (coronavirus) world.

During a keynote, Granryd called for development of national 5G plans; rapid allocation of suitable spectrum; and adoption of “pro-investment, pro-innovation” regulatory policies.

He stated 5G “is coming, and while it will not be large scale immediately, it is very important to plan well now for the future.”

Granryd noted work is already well underway in some countries, citing recent commercial 5G launches in Brazil and Uruguay, and spectrum auctions in Chile, Colombia and the Dominican Republic.

He highlighted a need to address digital inequality as part of the planning process, stating the pandemic illuminated difficulties faced by the more the 300 million people in Latin America still unable to connect to the mobile internet.

With the future set to be “increasingly digital”, Granryd insisted “now is the time to pull the digital divide into sharp focus and work together to ensure a better future for every single citizen”.

In a separate presentation, Telecom Argentina CEO Roberto Nobile echoed Granryd’s calls around spectrum and the need for a “stable regulatory framework” to incentivise investment.

Use cases
Later, Huawei deputy chairman Ken Hu encouraged operators to assess which 5G use cases to pursue based on four key criteria: technical relevance; business potential; value chain maturity; and standardisation.

He named remote control, machine vision, video backhaul and real-time location positioning of staff and equipment as “four priorities worthy of your investments”, adding these address “practical needs not in just one industry, but in a wide range of industries”.

Though the vendor recently faced a potential setback in Brazil, Hu stated Huawei “stands ready to support and contribute our fair share” to the technology’s development.