Speech by MIinister Cwele, on the occasion of the 5G Huddle 2018


DATE: 29 May 2018

Program Director,
Chairman, WWRF Nigel Jefferies,
ICASA Councillors
Deputy Director of the Radiocommunication Bureau, ITU Mario Maniewicz,
Chairman of CPG Alexander Kühn,
Captains of Industry,
Members of the media
Ladies and gentlemen


It is an honour and privilege to address all the distinguished delegates and congratulate the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) and the Wireless World Research Forum (WWRF) for co-hosting the fifth 5G Hurdle conference for the first time in the Southern Hemisphere. We warmly welcome you to Durban during the year our nation is celebrating the centenary of the illustrious lives of President Nelson Mandela and Mama Albertina Sisulu.

We are excited that this two-day conference is focusing on the countdown to the commercial rollout of 5G technologies and what needs to be done from policy, regulator and business perspective to meet the objective of delivering an all-inclussive 5G infrastructure in both cities and rural areas in order not to leave anyone behind and ensure meaningful participation of developing countries.


The principle of inclusivity is fundamental in ensuring that global humanity embrace the benefits of power of evolving technologies keeping the eyes on bridging the emerging digital divide. President Mandela was an outspoken advocate of bridging the digital gap between “information haves and information have nots”. We should also encourage and enable women to participate actively in the opportunities created by the Fourth Industrial Revolution which will be thriving on these 5G networks.

In most developing countries the majority of the workforce is low skilled. It is therefore very important to consider the potential impact of these new technologies that will provide platforms to build smart factories with plant automation, artificial intelligence and use of augmented reality to control stationary equipment such as welding, painting and assembly using robotics. I invite you to look at different digital skill requirements for different people including basic, intermediate and sector skills. For an example, what would be the needs of users from rural, urban and informal areas which are prevalent in our continent? The challenge is how to leap frog communities that have less formal education.


In order to stimulate demand and usage of 5G services, it will be crucial that content providers develop relevant local content that will appeal to even to the most vulnerable groups such as the elderly, women and people living with disability.

Laptops, smart phones, sensors on machines, all generate huge amounts of data for the Internet of Things (IoT), which will require growth in demand for data analysts and scientists using cloud services.
The cybersecurity industry is a rapidly changing beast in which good and bad guys are constantly trying to one up each other. Malicious cyber-attacks will open up due to a huge number of connected devices. This will become crucial as many mission critical applications such as energy, water and including safety of life such as moving trains will rely on communication between connected devices.


The 5G road map
This year marks the most important milestone in the 5G roadmap - the launch of large scale trials of 5G systems and technology. Earlier this year 5G trials were conducted successfully during the Pyong Chang Olympics to demonstrate the performance, reliability and use cases for the future wireless technology during a dynamic and high traffic event.
We welcome efforts by South African companies that have launched or are planning to launch their 5G trials:
• MTN has partnered with Huawei to conduct the first 5G outdoor trial in Africa.
• Vodacom also announced in November 2017 that it had signed a memorandum of understanding with Nokia to support efforts to launch 5G.
• Comsol Networks recently announced a collaboration with global technology giants Verizon and Samsung, to launch 5G fixed wireless trials in South Africa.

We are very excited by all these developments and we encourage them.


5G will build on the ongoing evolution of 4G technology and will deliver significant technological improvements by way of enhanced mobile broadband, massive IoT and mission critical services. 5G will create an ecosystem for technical and business innovation involving vertical markets such as automotive, energy, food and agriculture, city management, government, healthcare, manufacturing, public transportation and many more. 5G will serve a larger portfolio of applications with a corresponding multiplicity of requirements ranging from high reliability to ultra-low latency going through high bandwidth and mobility.

In this regard, 5G is expected to provide significantly enhanced mobile broadband, including in areas where it has traditionally struggled, such as the boundary between cells, in high traffic areas such as shopping centres, and on trains. All these will require high speed, low latency, secure connectivity that is ubiquitous and highly reliable. This will offer a greatly improved mobile experience to citizens, and provide the platform for new services and applications in markets such as virtual reality and augmented reality.


5G will play a key role in supporting the massive rollout of intelligent IoT nodes and will drive the development of IoT services and applications in vertical markets.

5G will create new market opportunity for mobile technology. This usage area will support machine-to-machine (M2M) applications, especially those where high reliability and low latency are essential.

Applications related to mission critical services that stand to benefit us as developing nations include the following:

Health Industry
5G will be instrumental in mobilizing efficiency reserves such as assisted self-management capabilities and empower less qualified health personnel to conduct routine tasks on the behalf of higher qualified professionals. The use of applications or medical services such as telemedicine, smart medication or bio-electric medicine will help medical professionals to improve their level of service delivery. This is critical for people living in rural areas.

Manufacturing Sector
Manufacturing will bring good and bad things. The good thing is that we won’t be doing dangerous work and the bad is that some of the jobs may be displaced.

5G will provide a platform for the manufacturing sector to build smart factories and truly take advantage of technologies such as plant automation, artificial intelligence and use augmented reality to control of stationary equipment such as the welding, painting and assembly using robotics.


5G connectivity will be a key enabler for connected cars and autonomous vehicles as they will be able to almost instantaneously communicate with each other, buildings, infrastructure and the world around them. There is also the potential for what services 5G can add inside the car, and how it will enhance the passenger experience.


Energy Sector
As energy grids get smarter, 5G is seen as the important link to support machine type communications (MTC) to protect and control the grid. As the number of smart meters grows, each with their own communication demands, only a high capacity, high band-width infrastructure can support them adequately.


Media and Entertainment
The rise of interactive and immersive technology, together with the growth of the consumer as co-creator of content has caused disruption in the media and entertainment sector. Digital content is being served and consumed in a variety of new ways, think Netflix, Amazon Prime, Microsoft HoloLens or Facebook’s Oculus Rift. All of these technologies will become even more mainstream with the arrival of 5G.


The requirements of 5G networks
5G presents new challenges in the deployment of networks as well as the provisioning of services. 5G extends the edge of the network past traditional boundaries to consumer operated connected devices.

Whilst earlier network generations have been designed as general-purpose connectivity platforms with limited differentiation capabilities across use cases, the situation is changing for the definition of 5G networks. The 5G use cases will require network performance to increase 10-fold over current levels across all network parameters, as measured by latency, throughput, reliability and scale. To get there, mobile operators must invest in all network domains, including spectrum, radio access network (RAN) infrastructure, transmission and core networks.


The challenge for mobile network operators will be to increase the data capacity in the end to end network without significantly increasing the operating costs. We are told no single entity can afford to deploy 5G networks on theinr own, hence the need for collaboration between various industry stakeholders will be crucial. Here we are talking about better collaboration between the operators, regulators and policy makers.


The approach may be assisted some innovative 5G Network Building blocks:
• SDN (Software Defined Networks), Data Centres – for reduced latency, delay and high throughput.
• Heterogeneous Network Solutions - to address capacity and coverage demand;
• Wi-Fi Offloading Solutions - to effectively address traffic growth;
• NGN Technologies Implementation - for home and enterprise deployment.

Mobile Network Operators will have to consider the following multi-stakeholder network deployment approaches in order to afford the deployment of 5G networks:
• Operators could begin by upgrading the capacity of their existing 4G macro network by re-farming a portion of their 2G and 3G spectrum, or by acquiring additional spectrum when available. This way, they can delay investments in 5G by evolving to LTE-and LTE-Pro features, such as 4x4 or massive MIMO (a multiple input, multiple output technology).

• The self-organized capabilities of 5G networks will also enable the network to efficiently predict demand and to provide resources, so that it can heal, protect, configure and optimize accordingly. This will reduce the infrastructure investment required.

• Infrastructure sharing is one way in which the costs of deploying network upgrades can be reduced. Analysis by Ovando et al. (2015) of LTE rollout in rural areas shows that passive infrastructure sharing does not necessarily constitute a single-cost solution for meeting required coverage obligations in low population density areas, but sharing a single network does begin to make deployment more feasible for operators.
• When network upgrades are no longer sufficient to support the increased traffic, operators will need to build new macro sites or small cells. Small cell deployments have been found to be the most cost-efficient way to meet large demand for data rates when the alternative option is building more macrocells. This will require high frequency spectrum.

For 5G to be a success, innovative spectrum and infrastructure sharing models are essential, particularly given the level of investment required for network densification.
Spectrum within three key frequency ranges (sub-1 GHz, 1-6 GHz and above 6 GHz) will be required to deliver widespread coverage and capacity that will be able to support all 5G use cases.

Last year we consulted widely on the implementation of spectrum policy and we have found a consensus where we have said in view of the large investment made by the industry over the years, we must assess what would be the requirement of the Wireless Open Access Network (WOAN) in terms of spectrum.

We then commissioned CSIR to conduct a study on the actual need of a sustainable WOAN. The outcome of the study is in the Cabinet process for consideration and approval and will be published after the conclusion of the Cabinet process.

That is why President Ramaphosa, during his reply during the Budget Vote last week, said Cabinet is considering options and will soon make a decision and announce it. He is very serious about attracting investment.


If there is additional spectrum that can be licenced, we should do that without any delays.

Our department and SADC region are leading the WRC 19 preparatory work, to consider identification of frequency bands for the future development of International Mobile Telecommunications (IMT), including possible additional allocations to the mobile service on a primary basis.

All these measures are meant to ensure investor certainty and facilitate further infrastructure investment and inclusive growth in the ICT sector.

Backhaul Infrastructure
The dense and heavy traffic 5G cells will need to be connected to the core network through a backhaul infrastructure, often with extreme requirements in terms of capacity, latency, availability, energy and cost efficiency.

The reality on the continent is that the terrain has prevented the deployment of fibre infrastructure where there’s low population density.
All backhauls will be important, whether it is microwave or new forms of satellite which will give requisite speeds. So we won’t be stuck on technology. We’ll use any technology that can give us the requisite speeds and improve access to all.


As a country, we are prioritising the rapid deployment policy where we harmonising and making it easy for the operators to access the site to deploy ICT infrastructure. SENTECH is exploring partnership to rollout these modern satellite technologies in order to expedite coverage, especially in rural areas.
I trust this platform will go a long way towards establishing a collaborative conversation as we prepare for 5G network deployment.
I trust that this platform will go a long way towards the collaborative conversation as we prepare for 5G network deployments.


As government, regulators and industry we must find creative ways of working together for successful deployments and help developing countries such as South Africa not to left behind but leapfrog and remain competitive as we embrace the new era of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

His Excellency President Ramaphosa is marshalling us to attract investment and ensure economic inclusion.
I wish you a successful conference
Thank you.