LIVE FROM GLOBAL 5G EVENT, VALENCIA: Operators were urged to ensure 5G becomes the mobile generation to finally and fully address the world’s digital divide, with ITU figures indicating 3.9 billion people are still unconnected.
In a session on cross-regional collaboration, Luciano Leonel Mendes, technical coordinator of the 5G-RANGE project (pictured) outlined the work of the initiative, which is focused on closing the connectivity gap in remote areas of Europe and Brazil in collaboration with the European Union.
He said the project had a number of goals, which included bringing 5G services to rural and remote areas, explaining that in some cases a lack of access was not the issue, but more the quality of what was available.
“Voice and data connectivity is the last frontier for universal internet access,” he said. “Everyone in a city is connected, but if you move 5km or 6km out you can lose connectivity or the service is so bad people are not willing to pay for it.”
“It is now time to change this balance and find a solution for people that allows people to be connected if they want…we need to address this in the 5G era, not beyond, not in 6G”.
To motivate operators to invest in more remote areas, Mendes said addressing under-served areas could promote competition and open up new revenue opportunities in certain vertical areas, for example smart farming; remote healthcare; providing better coverage of roads; and IoT capabilities.
“It is a huge market for operators,” he added.Subscribe to our daily newsletter Back