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By Orlaith Finn

Ericsson shared at GITEX the latest 5G and AI technologies with partners in the industry. During the event, visitors gained deeper and broader knowledge on how to plan and execute a smooth transition to 5G and reap the benefits of digital transformation in industries like healthcare, entertainment and sports to name but a few. Telecom Review spoke with Ericsson’s Fadi Pharaon, SVP and Head of Market Area Middle East & Africa, to discuss his recent promotion and the importance of supporting partners at an exciting time in the industry.

Tell us about your new role as SVP and Head of Market Area in the ME and Africa?

First, I'm very delighted to have started managing all of our business operations here in the Middle East and Africa as of the 1st September. I'm looking forward to working with the team to support all of our customers’ needs. We cover an extensive area with many different requirements and therefore we provide our service in varying degrees. In Africa, we are very much focusing on bringing another 4G network to the continent and in a very efficient manner. The potential for growth in Africa is huge and Ericsson is looking forward to being a big contributor to that. As you can see today at Gitex, 5G really is taking centre stage here in the Middle East. Many of the operators have already launched 5G in the GCC. Ericsson then uses technology leadership to support operators and help them monetize it.

Where does Ericsson stand on bringing 5G to the region?

Ericsson is very much at the forefront of 5G deployment. There are 40 live networks around the world right now. Ericsson is a provider for the majority of those. We were the first to roll out 5G in the US. We are also the first vendor to roll out 5G in four continents. We offer all types of access and technology from GSM all the way up to 5G. So we have lots of experience in this field, and we are leading the way for operators.

What are Ericsson’s latest initiatives?

AI and machine learning are advancing at an exponential rate. Therefore, we are incorporating them into our technologies support network and changing the way that companies can operate. We are focusing on digitizing the operations of companies. This will improve efficiency and gives very specific functionality to enterprises.

Also in terms of new technologies, Ericsson Radio System enables smooth, fast and cost-effective migration from 4G to 5G, allowing operators to launch the new technology and grow 5G coverage fast. We want to work with our partners to enable the evolution to full 5G deployment through manageable steps, in a way that matches business and technology realities.  We offer our customers an expanded and adaptable 5G platform, making it easier for them to roll out 5G and speed up network coverage. Our end to end Radio and Core 5G platform enhances network flexibility for enabling new 5G use cases, lowering latency, and lowering total cost of ownership.

What sets Ericsson apart from its competitors?

Well first and foremost, I am a big believer in the Ericsson team. If I look at the portfolio, when it comes to 5G specifically, we are the only vendor that has been delivering Radio System hardware that is 5G ready since 2015. This is just one example of how we are leading vendors.  The company is first with publicly announced commercial 5G contracts and commercial live networks in four continents with more announcements to come.

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