MTN Group CEO Rob Shuter has downplayed the short-term impact and potential of 5G, particularly in the markets in which it operates, saying it is a "technology searching for an application", TechCentral reported. Shuter said 5G will not be rolled out in the same way as developments before it, such as 3G and 4G. Rather, he said, 5G will be deployed in selected areas only and even then, only on a use-case basis to support specific applications, such as robotics, closed-circuit TV cameras, or a factory that has a demand for it.
His remarks come even as MTN has run 5G trials, including one at its head office earlier this year with networking equipment supplier Ericsson. It also recently conducted a field trial with Huawei. Both showed the multi-gigabit speeds offered by 5G as well as the low latencies that are more akin to fixed fiber connections.
The equipment needed for 5G is not on sale yet, Shuter said. In the markets where MTN operates in Africa and the Middle East, 5G will not have a big impact in the short term, with most subscribers continuing to be served by 2G, 3G and 4G infrastructure, Shuter said.