LIVE FROM GLOBAL MBB FORUM, DUBAI: Bocar A Ba, CEO of Samena Telecommunications Council (pictured), bemoaned a lack of access to capital for investment in infrastructure, calling for more financial support for the industry to deploy 5G and 5G-Advanced networks and address key challenges such as the digital divide.

Ba said the deployment of 5G-Advanced, the overriding topic at this year’s event, had the potential to achieve improved connectivity experiences for people and machines, immersive experiences fusing physical and digital worlds through extended reality, enhance applications and logistics systems and crucially mitigate connectivity gaps for underserved areas and communities.

However, given the scale of investment required to meet already massive demands, Ba believes it is now time to “reflect on and realise new ways” how such connectivity will be funded and financed.

Ba also referenced the ongoing fair-share debate, a prevalent issue in Europe in particular which has seen operators lobby for large content companies to contribute to the cost of building networks.

“Over the last two years, significant effort has been made to highlight and press upon the need to identify and reach out to new stakeholders, especially the digital economy players, to contribute. Moreover, new methods and new financial instruments have also been brought to the surface.”

He said Samena had been actively pushing for further investment from relevant stakeholders, including investment groups and financial instituions, however “unlocking access to capital remains a reclusive goal”.

“There is persistent lack of trailblazing on this front,” he concluded.