Switching on 5G in the Middle East
In 2019, we will start the commercial roll out of 5G with operators in advanced markets like the UAE, Saudi Arabia’s and Qatar, with significant traffic volumes in 2021. We were recently selected by Batelco to commercially deploy 5G across Bahrain and announced 5G commercial launches with Etisalat, STC and Ooredoo at Mobile World Congress 2019. In fact, all major service providers in the region are moving aggressively to launch 5G commercially, according to Ericsson Mobility Report MEA.
Moreover, we are working with partners in a multitude of industries, as well as academia partners within research and development projects.
This has wide regional ramifications, as there are great economic benefits in taking advantage of a new wireless technology first, highlighted by the boom in the app economy in the region after its adoption of 4G. Numerous regional start-ups like Fetchr!, Souq, Careem, and ReserveOut have been hugely successful, and many more have had a strong impact in the market.
Key drivers for immediate 5G deployment include increased network capacity, lower cost per gigabyte and new use case requirements. The majority of the 5G subscriptions in the MEA are expected to come from advanced ICT markets like Saudi Arabia, UAE and Qatar while in Africa, considerable momentum is building in South Africa.
The MEA region’s telecom market is characterized by increasing uptake of LTE. The region will lead the globe with a forecast for 9x mobile data traffic growth (1.8 to 17 EB/month from 2018 to 2024) and see a doubling of mobile broadband subscriptions (850 to 1,630 million from 2018 to 2024), according to Ericsson Mobility Report MEA.
The exponential role of disruptive technology in climate action
Beyond improving efficiency and reducing cost, digitalization and IoT have wide human implications. From smart homes and power grids to connected transport systems, IoT is already making our personal lives safer, healthier and greener.
ICT in combination with a well-integrated corporate sustainability strategy can help tackle a range of global challenges. While the digital sector is on track to reduce its own emissions, representing just 1.4% of the global total, it is also in a unique position to influence other sectors.
Social and technological innovations are already scaling, for example, shared and “on-demand” fleets of more energy-efficient electric vehicles could reduce global energy demand for transport by more than 50 percent by 2050 while reducing the number of vehicles on the road.
For example, the vision adopted by Dubai for 2030 is for 30 percent of public transport to be autonomous. Other GCC states have also revealed plans to cut emissions and improve climate mitigation.
Adopting circular-economy approaches has the potential to reduce global emissions from industryby 45 percent by 2050. Globally, heavy industries such as steel, aluminum, cement and plastic production can reduce emissions by 50 percent using current technologies and efficiencies.
5G is the backbone that can make it all work both in the Middle East and Africa as well as across the globe – driving economic value from enhanced mobile broadband to digital industry to combating climate change. That in turn will require an ecosystem of technology, regulatory, security and industry partners to deliver on the potential.
Please read more about how to develop the smart wireless manufacturing market and bridging the gap.
Huge appetite for foldable phones – when prices fall
Samsung, Huawei and Motorola have all shown their cards, but consumers are concerned about durability, size, and enhanced use cases, according to Strategy Analytics
Foldable devices are a long-awaited disrupter in the smartphone market, exciting leading-edge early adopters keen for a bold new type of device. But the acceptance of foldable devices by mainstream segments will depend on the extent to which the current barriers to adoption are addressed.
Major brands have been throwing their foldable bets into the hat to see what the market wants from a foldable, namely how big the screens should be and how the devices should fold. Samsung and Huawei have both designed devices that unfold from smartphones to tablets, each with their own method of how the devices go about folding. Motorola has recently designed a smartphone that folds in half, and it resembles a flip phone.
Assessing consumer desire for foldable smartphones, a new report from the User Experience Strategies group at Strategy Analytics has found that the perceived value of the foldable form does not outweigh the added cost.
Key report findings include:
- The idea of having a larger-displayed smartphone in a portable size is perceived as valuable to the vast majority of consumers in the UK and the US. But, willingness to pay extra for a foldable device does not align with the desire to purchase one. Manufacturers must understand that there will be low sell-through until costs come down.
- But as the acceptance for traditional smartphone display sizes continues to increase, so does the imposed friction of trying to use them one-handed. Unless a foldable phone has a wider folded state, entering text when closed is too cumbersome, forcing users to utilize two hands to enter text, when in the opened state.
- Use cases need to be adequately demonstrated for consumers to fully understand and appreciate the potential for a foldable phone, though their priorities seemed fixed on promoting ‘two devices in one’ equaling a better video viewing experience. Identification and promotion of meaningful new use cases will be vital to success.
Christopher Dodge, Associate Director, UXIP and report author said: “As multitasking will look to be a core selling point for foldable phones, it is imperative that the execution be simplified and intuitive. Our data suggests there are a lot of uncertainties that come with foldable phone ownership, stemming mainly from concerns with durability and size, in addition to concerns over enhanced use cases.
“But our data also shows that when the consumers are able to use a foldable phone in hand, there is a solid reduction of doubt and concern about the concept. This means that the in-store experience may more important than ever in driving awareness, capabilities, and potential use cases.”
Said Paul Brown, Director, UXIP: “The big question is whether the perceived value will outweigh the added cost; and the initial response from consumers is ‘no.’ The ability for foldable displays to resolve real consumer pain-points is, in our view critical to whether these devices will become a niche segment of the smartphone market or the dominant form-factor of the future. Until costs come down, these devices will not take off.”
New exploit exposes credit cards on mobile phones
Check Point Security has found that handsets using Qualcomm chipsets that hold credit and debit card credentials are at risk of a new exploit.
Now it’s more important than ever to update your phone.
Check Point security has found a vulnerability in mobile devices that run Android, which allows credit card details to be accessed by hackers.
Mobile operating systems like Android offer a Rich Execution Environment (REE), providing a hugely extensive and versatile runtime environment, which allows apps to run on the device. However, while bringing flexibility and capability, REE leaves devices vulnerable to a wide range of security threats. A Trusted Execution Environment (TEE) is designed to reside alongside the REE and provide a safe area on the device to protect assets and to execute trusted code. Qualcomm makes use of a secure virtual processor, which is often referred to as the “secure world”, in comparison to the “non-secure world”, where REE resides.
But Check Point “fuzzed” a “hole” into this secure world
In a 4-month research project, Check Point researchers attempted and succeeded to reverse Qualcomm’s “Secure World” operating system. Check Point researchers leveraged a “fuzzing” technique to expose the hole. Fuzz testing (fuzzing) is a quality assurance technique used to discover coding errors and security loopholes in software, operating systems or networks. It involves inputting massive amounts of random data, called fuzz, to the test subject in an attempt to make it crash.
Check Point implemented a custom-made fuzzing tool, which tested trusted code on Samsung, LG, and Motorola devices. Through fuzzing, Check Point found 4 vulnerabilities in trusted code implemented by Samsung (including S10), 1 in Motorola, 1 in LG, but all code sourced by Qualcomm itself. To address the vulnerability, the runtime of Android needs to be protected from both attackers and users. This is typically achieved by moving the secure storage software to a hardware-supported TEE.
Check Point Research disclosed its findings directly to the companies and gave them time to patch vulnerabilities. Samsung patched three vulnerabilities and LG patched one. Motorola and Qualcomm responded, but have yet to provide a patch, and there is no confirmation of a release date yet.
Check Point Research has urged mobile phone users to stay vigilant and check their credit and debit card providers for any unusual activity. In the meantime, they are working with the vendors mentioned to issue patches.