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Eurobites: GSMA predicts 5G growth in MENA region

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: KKR wants more time for Sparkle bid; Nokia and Orange claim 800G record; MTN makes changes at the top table.

Paul Rainford

December 6, 2023

3 Min Read
5G connectivity bars on smartphone display
(Source: Westend61 GmbH/Alamy Stock Photo)
  • A new report from the GSMA predicts that 5G will account for half of all mobile connections in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region by 2030, with the technology's GDP contribution in the region expected to reach $60 billion by 2030. There are currently 415 million unique mobile subscribers in the MENA region; this is due to rise to 550 million by 2030, the report adds. There is work to do, however – the report acknowledges that no 5G spectrum has yet been assigned in any North African country. The report was published to coincide with the start of the M360 MENA conference in Riyadh, which, as well as 5G, will cover AI, IoT and edge computing and cybersecurity.

  • US investment firm KKR, which is considering a bid for Telecom Italia's Sparkle unit, has requested an extension to the time allowed for its due diligence process on the deal until the end of January 2024. The request will be discussed by the Telecom Italia board on December 14.

  • Nokia and Orange are claiming to have set another record with the completion of an 800Gbit/s per wavelength transmission over Orange's 6,600km Durant transatlantic cable using Nokia's PSE-6s super-coherent optics technology. In the trial, Orange and Nokia say they managed to demonstrate "error-free performance" over the link between Virginia Beach, US, and St Hilaire de Riez in France. The trial also demonstrated 700 Gbit/s over a total link distance of 7,345km from Virginia Beach to Paris.

  • South Africa's MTN has announced that Jens Schulte-Bockum will step down from his role as group chief operating officer when his fixed-term contract ends on March 31, 2024, to be replaced by Selorm Adadevoh, albeit under a slightly different job title – group chief commercial officer. Stephen Blewett, meanwhile, has been appointed as CEO of MTN Ghana effective April 1, 2024, succeeding Adadevoh.

  • MTN has also been using the sidelines of COP28 to reach a deal with Tomorrow.io, described as a "weather intelligence" company, to jointly work on a system intended to provide life-saving early warnings and critical weather information to at-risk populations of more than 300 million people across Africa. The system will run on Microsoft's Azure cloud computing platform.

  • UK-based software company ThinkAnalytics has poached Marc Aldrich from AWS to become its worldwide CEO. Prior to his time at AWS, where he was general manager for the Media and Entertainment business unit, Aldrich led the Americas sales unit at Cisco.

  • Original content is a top priority for UK users of streaming services, with 70% of them saying it is the most important consideration when it comes to choosing providers. So says a new survey conducted by Dynata and commissioned by Amdocs, the US-based OSS software vendor. The survey also revealed a confusing picture when it comes to advertising, with 38% of consumers declaring themselves opposed to seeing more ads and 37% saying they are open to it. Go figure.

  • In other survey news, it seems one in three Millennial and Gen Z adults (aged 18-35) still have their phone bills paid by their parents. But this, says the Virgin Media O2 research, is not the only raid on the Bank of Mum & Dad – around a third of them also get their utility bills and housing costs paid for by the parentals. And of course, 35% of them are not averse to using the oldies' logins to TV streaming services either.

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About the Author(s)

Paul Rainford

Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

Paul is based on the Isle of Wight, a rocky outcrop off the English coast that is home only to a colony of technology journalists and several thousand puffins.

He has worked as a writer and copy editor since the age of William Caxton, covering the design industry, D-list celebs, tourism and much, much more.

During the noughties Paul took time out from his page proofs and marker pens to run a small hotel with his other half in the wilds of Exmoor. There he developed a range of skills including carrying cooked breakfasts, lying to unwanted guests and stopping leaks with old towels.

Now back, slightly befuddled, in the world of online journalism, Paul is thoroughly engaged with the modern world, regularly firing up his VHS video recorder and accidentally sending text messages to strangers using a chipped Nokia feature phone.

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