Zambia’s govt urged to fast-track 5G deal
Zambia’s government is urged to fast-track the deal with Huawei Technologies to deploy 5G network infrastructure and direct technical resources towards the fight against Coronavirus (COVID-19).
Alfred Zulu, a senior researcher at the Computer Association of Zambia said now that experts have reported that 5G can enhance the effectiveness of pandemic prevention and drive the digital transformation of healthcare systems, the government should respond quickly.
Zulu said that in May 2019 the government announced that Huawei agreed to deploy 5G infrastructure in the country and officials would provide an update. This has not yet materialised, he added.
“China has managed to contain the virus and everyone was asking how? The answer we are getting from the report is that 5G played a critical role in the fight against the pandemic and so we want Zambia to also benefit from the opportunities that come with 5G,” said Zulu.
Though he did not specifically mention 5G network, Huawei Technologies Zambia managing director Anthony Yu said recently that the company is ready to reach out to government through technological solution to enhance healthcare delivery in the country.
“Technological solution is in line with Huawei’s aspirations to bring digital to every person, home and organisation for a fully connected and intelligent world,” said Yu.
According to a report by Deloitte, Combating COVID-19 with 5G: Opportunities to improve public health systems, produced in collaboration with Huawei, during outbreak in China, telecom operators collaborated with Huawei to rapidly set up a specific 5G network dedicated to COVID-19 treatment hospitals.
Amongst its findings, the report notes that the effectiveness of communication and data exchange has been essential in screening for infected individuals and controlling the outbreak – this by enabling thermal imaging, continuous remote monitoring and diagnoses during patient transfer.
Zambia’s Minister of Communications and Transport Mutotwe Kafwaya did not respond to requests for comment.