LIVE FROM HUAWEI GLOBAL MBB FORUM 2019, ZURICH: Zain Group CTO Hisham Allam (pictured) dismissed excessive hype around 5G, but maintained the technology will be a necessity for operators looking to meet growing traffic demands.

Despite lofty ambitions, he noted 5G will not enable “flying cars, robots that will do everything for you, smart cities and UFOs”. However, Allam said operators which don’t deploy the technology will be left behind.

“In the next couple of years, 35 per cent of traffic will be carried on 5G. If your market is not planning to do 5G in the first couple of years, I think you should reconsider that. If you have access to the spectrum, you need to make sure you deploy 5G.”

Allam acknowledged doing so will stretch operators to the limit, requiring an overhaul of their technology, business and operational capabilities.

For instance, he noted operators will need to develop “a completely different way of supporting those customers that will be part of 5G.”

However, he insisted the technology offers operators “a tonne of possibilities,” adding Zain is exploring opportunities related to enhanced drone services, CCTV, fixed wireless access and high-reliability backup connectivity, among other things.

“You need to understand that it’s a new business. There are lots of possibilities to partner with different partners and the idea, the key, is collaborating together to make sure we make the best use of 5G.”