COVID19: How 4G networks continue to support Communities

4G Networks are currently the best buzzing bands supporting the world through the current COVID19 Pandemic. Commonly, 5G has been the talk of the current Pandemic even before its wide roll-out, but 4G LTE has continued to be the available band allowing cellular-users to route through the Internet for Information and Health precautions.

With merit, 52% of the world’s mobile devices currently support 4G as their default network technology. Through the same fashion, a majority of mobile telecom operators support 4G as the fastest network band available for customers, and as such, 4G is the lifesaving network technology supporting communities through theCOVID19 Pandemic.

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Although 5G technology will be the default networking technology for the fourth industrial revolution (4IR) with automation as the key mover. 4G LTE (Long term Evolution) continues to serve for atleast the next 5 years as Henry Calvet inked during the 2020 GSMA Summit.

“Until 2025, LTE will continue to do the heavy lifting,” said Henry Calvert, head of the Network 2020 future network programme at the Global System for Mobile Communications (GSMA), “Our 4G networks will remain key… They will continue to be important for the next five-to-seven years,” he said.

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 The Role played by 4G in the COVID19 Pandemic

Adding to his presentation at the 2020 GSMA LTE Summit, Calvert added that, LTE was coming to the fore in the provision of telehealth and telemedicine even before the Pandemic, as well as expanding wireless network services to support the human resource in hospitals and other healthcare services.

Even with health as a key role supported by 4G, the network band has also made new lifestyles currently taking shape due to the current COVID19 Infucned lockdowns, these include Scientific weddings and now Scientific Elections in Uganda.

Calvert said operators report that data usage has increased by more than 70% per customer during the pandemic, and mostly driven by online services and on-demand video services like Netflix, which recently reported adding 15.8 million subscribers since 2019 – more than double their expectations.

“There has even been a call to on-demand video providers to reduce the quality of video they’re deploying and encourage people to use standard-definition rather than high-definition TV to preserve the capacity in the networks for online education, online health and online businesses,” he said.

“As transformation continues it’s been focused on expanding 4G capacity,” he said. “But the 5G transformation is clearly going to be needed in the future to meet online demands.”

During COVID-19, 4G networks have also been instrumental in supporting contact-tracing apps, which can locate and notify the contacts of infected individuals remotely, while still protecting the privacy of users in countries like China and the USA.

Hence, 4G LTE is still a great network technology further utilized in the new COVID19 Normal. And so, it must remain a priority infrastructure over the short term before 5G is officially rolled out to several countries.

“Our GSMA intelligence groups show that there will be a short-term dip in 5G deployment,” said Calvert. “But that will quickly recover to normal levels. We still see launches of 5G networks, as we now know that delivering on the data demand that has been met by our LTE networks can only get better with 5G.” – Calvert Concluded

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