Jenfan Muswere, ICT Minister
Business

5G tech to improve access to health: Muswere

THE country’s adoption of 5G digital technology will improve the economy and make the health sector more convenient.

Speaking at the ICT conference in Harare yesterday, Information Communication Technology minister Jenfan Muswere, pictured, said the 5G promises to provide essential levels of connectivity to enable a new health ecosystem.

“In telemedicine today, we can consult a doctor anywhere in the world through a video call over the Internet. But the connection is still not good enough for that doctor to perform surgery remotely. 5G will change that.

“One that can meet patients and provide needs accurately, efficiently, conveniently, cost-effectively and at substantial scale.

“This will lead to faster medical services and better patient outcomes. The new and reliable network also means that large files can be transmitted quickly between doctors and hospitals.

“The reduction in time that 5G brings means more timely diagnostics, second opinions, treatment starts and adjustments since the medical data can be transmitted and consumed by doctors faster than ever before, whether at home or in the office,” Muswere said.

He added that Zimbabwe’s economic resilience and competitiveness lay in digitalisation, hence the need for the adoption of emerging technologies.

“According to the Global System for Mobile Communications (GSMA), the number of global Internet of Things (IoT) connections between 2019 and 2025 will more than double to almost 25 billion. New products and services in IoT, as well as other areas like autonomous vehicles and robotics, and augmented reality will create new revenue streams that are expected to add USD 2.2 trillion to the global economy by 2034.

“For businesses and industry, 5G and IoT will provide a wealth of data allowing them to gain insights into their operations like never before. Businesses will operate and make key decisions driven by data, innovate in agriculture, smart farms and manufacturing, paving the way for cost savings, better customer experience and long-term growth,” Muswere said.

The minister further said the country is already making significant strides in its digital transformation journey but service providers should tighten cyber security as it is vulnerable to crime.

“We have already developed a 5-Year Strategic Plan that promises to revolutionize government services and bring connectivity to under-served rural communities.

“Telecom operators under ministry have already started rolling out 5G network, which is ultra-fast, with peak data rates of up to 100 times faster than 4G.  It supports near-zero latency, which means there will be practically no delay in sending and receiving information between devices.

“However, as we expand the adoption of 5G, we must be mindful of the potential for new cyber risks. Consumers and businesses must have confidence that our 5G networks are resilient. With that in mind, telecom operators must commit to adopt a ‘zero-trust’ posture. Telecom operators must first verify all activity before trusting it. There must also be constant monitoring and vigilance for suspicious activities,” he alluded.

This comes as Zimbabwe is moving towards embracing 5G to be a competitive digital economy and initiatives are ongoing to adapt to the advanced network systems. 

Econet Wireless, one of the few network providers, launched a 5g technology earlier this year. By Melisa Chatikobo chatikobom@dailynews.co.zw

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