The latest Mobile Economy Report for MENA launches at Mobile 360 Riyadh to show 5G momentum across the region
17 May 2022, Riyadh: Saudi Arabia is a regional leader in the rollout of 5G, according to the GSMA’s Mobile Economy Report for the Middle East & North Africa (MENA) 2022, launching today at Mobile 360 Riyadh. The two-day conference hosted by the GSMA is the first in-person gathering of the telecoms industry in the MENA region since before the pandemic.
Mobile 360 Riyadh is being hosted at the Hilton Riyadh Hotel in partnership with stc, a Saudi digital enabler in the region, bringing together policymakers, regulatory authorities and leaders from the connectivity industry to discuss the future of the region’s digital transformation.
A varied agenda and speaker line-up explores the rapid digital investment plans in Saudi Arabia under the guidance of Vision 2030, the kingdom’s strategic framework designed to diversify its economy and develop sectors such as health, education, infrastructure, recreation, and tourism.
With the MENA region set to unleash the power of digital connectivity and become a leading centre for business, innovation, and entertainment – Mobile 360 Riyadh has arrived at the perfect time. The event will explore how technology will shape the future, create a sustainable industry, and examine what is next for mobile connectivity.
Saudi Arabia becomes the region’s digital hub
The Mobile Economy Report for MENA sits at the heart of this year’s event, encapsulating how mobile networks have been critical in supporting recovery from the pandemic; how mobile technologies continue to make a significant contribution to MENA’s economy; and how sustainability and security are priorities for network transformation.
The report also explores how Saudi Arabia has evolved into a digital hub and a leader in the regional transition to 5G, a position enabled by positive regulation, government funding and projects such as stc’s MENA HUB – a $1 billion investment in regional connectivity and infrastructure that will support Saudi Arabia’s rapidly expanding digital and cloud sector.
The report’s findings show:
- 4G dominates but is expected to peak in 2023 as consumers transition to 5G.
- There are now more than 15 million 5G connections in the MENA region across eight countries.
- By 2025, 5G will account for nearly a fifth of total mobile connections in MENA.
- The number of mobile internet users in MENA exceeded 300 million in 2021.
- In Saudi Arabia, 60 of the 136 governates were covered by 5G services as of mid-2021, up from 30 just one year earlier.
- In addition, stc and Zain have deployed commercial 5G Stand Alone (SA) networks in Saudi Arabia – stc has also launched 5G SA in Kuwait – giving the ability to address demanding enterprise use cases and scale solutions more effectively.
“Since the emergence of Covid-19, mobile networks have been instrumental in providing the connectivity needed to sustain social and economic activity. Now, a priority for governments in MENA is to drive economic recovery and promote sustainable development,” said Mats Granryd, Director General, GSMA. “The attendees of Mobile 360 Riyadh will gain first-hand insights into the rapid digital investment and plans taking place in Saudi Arabia, under the guidance of Vision 2030. They will also see how digital services and technologies will be crucial to realising this vision, by stimulating economic growth, mobilising the workforce, and enabling industrial efficiencies.”
Attendees will hear how innovation and vision will ensure the power of 5G is fully exploited and how the growth of use cases and services across a range of industries needs to be supported by robust connectivity. These topics will be explored across the conference’s key themes: Expanding the Boundaries of Technology; Urban Innovation in Action; and Digital Policies for a Digital Future. Additional debates include a discussion on What Next for the Mobile Sector and dedicated sessions on FinTech, Smart Cities, Spectrum and Sustainability.
Mobile 360 Riyadh is supported by a valued network of partners and sponsors including host sponsor stc; platinum sponsor Neom; gold sponsors Cisco and Ericsson; silver sponsors Evina and Huawei; and bronze sponsors Digis Squared, Ookla, Protei, PXS, SES, Syniverse, Technotree and Viavi.
The GSMA is a global organisation unifying the mobile ecosystem to discover, develop and deliver innovation foundational to positive business environments and societal change. Our vision is to unlock the full power of connectivity so that people, industry, and society thrive. Representing mobile operators and organisations across the mobile ecosystem and adjacent industries, the GSMA delivers for its members across three broad pillars: Connectivity for Good, Industry Services and Solutions, and Outreach. This activity includes advancing policy, tackling today’s biggest societal challenges, underpinning the technology and interoperability that make mobile work, and providing the world’s largest platform to convene the mobile ecosystem at the MWC and M360 series of events.
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GSMA Press Office