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Monday, July 4, 2022

Telecom Regulator to appoint consultant for rollout of 5G service by 2020

The Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) will appoint a consultant as part of the government’s plan to rollout the 5th generation (5G) service, which is yet to be launched anywhere in the world, by 2020 in the country.

The government also plans to go for a trial run of the 5G mobile technology on July 25. The Chinese telecom giant Huawei will conduct the daylong trial run at a city hotel on that day.

“We’re global leaders in building digital nations. The world is moving fast and technology is changing even faster. We’d like to set an example by launching the 5G service” said ICT minister Mustafa Jabbar.

TIM Nurul Kabir, secretary general of the Mobile Telecom Operators of Bangladesh (AMTOB), welcomed the initiative. He, however, said that the government should promote healthy competition through a sustainable business policy before launching any new technology in the market.

He also said that mobile phone operators are yet to get return on their investment in the 3G service. Moreover, they have to invest in the 4G service, he added.

The ICT minister said they had taken the decision to launch the 5G service by considering the benefits of consumers.

The BTRC has already allotted 800 Megahertz spectrum to Huawei on a temporary basis, said BTRC chairman (acting) Md Jahurul Haque.

The Chinese telecom giant will have to pay Tk. 5 lakh to use the spectrum on 27555 to 28355 bands for a week and the event will be organised under the title of Bangladesh 5G Summit.

The 5G service will change the digital environment and Bangladesh wants to take lead in this arena by deploying state-of-the-art technology, said Mustafa Jabbar.

The 4th generation technology was launched in Bangladesh on February 29 this year. Earlier, on October, 2013, the country launched the 3G service. The 5G technology is expected to be officially launched across the world by 2020, according to techradar.com.

The US, China and South Korea are expected to be some of the first nations to install full 5G networks, with others, including the UK, not far behind.

Many companies are busy making sure that their networks and devices are ‘5G ready’ in time for 2020. However, it is still not exactly clear how much faster 5G will be than 4G as much of the technology is still under development. That being said, the networks should provide a significant upgrade to current download and upload speed, with the GSMA proposing a minimum download speed of around 1GBps.

Most estimates expect the average speed of 5G networks to reach 10Gb/s, while some think the transfer rate could reach a whopping 800Gb/s—this would help the users download a full-length HD quality film in seconds and downloading and installing of software upgrades would be completed in a wink.

Existing smartphones, tablet or any other devices that were released when 4G networks were the standard may not be able to connect to 5G or may require extra costs to do so. However, following the 2020 deadline for the initial rollout, we should soon see devices coming with 5G connection as default.

Although 5G should represent a major step up from current 4G and 3G networks, the new technology would not immediately replace its predecessor, at least not in the very beginning. Instead, 5G should link in with existing networks to ensure that the users never lose connection, with the older networks acting as back-up in areas not covered by the new 5G coverage.

The so-called ‘4.5G’ networks (also known as LTE-A) are set to fill the gap for the time being by offering connections that are faster than current 4G networks, although only a handful of countries, such as South Korea, can benefit from them right now.

Implementing the 5G service may be a slower process. Much like the gradual takeover of 4G networks from the previous generation, existing network infrastructure may need to be upgraded or even replaced in order to deal with the new technology. Households and businesses may also need to get new services installed.

It is not yet known how 5G networks will take over from the existing networks, but again, much like the rollout of 4G, one may not be able to immediately connect to the new networks without upgrading the technology. The GSMA has outlined eight criteria for 5G networks. These include 1-10Gbps connections to end points in the field, 1 millisecond end-to-end round trip delay, up to 10 year battery life for low power and machine-type devices.

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