5G mobile service won’t be viable for telecom industry: experts – Newspaper

ISLAMABAD: While the government is confident of rolling out 5G mobile services by the end of 2022, Pakistan’s major telecom operator has stressed that this will not be viable for the industry as the country currently needs optimal use of 4th generation (4G) technology.

“I think Pakistan should not jump on the 5G bandwagon immediately because the infrastructure needs work and the commercial use cases are premature to act,” said Aamir Ibrahim, Managing Director of Jazz, speaking to to attendees of a webinar titled ‘Expectations, Experiences, & Reality of 5G Travel’. It was hosted by the Global System for Mobile Communications (GSMA).

Mr Ibrahim added that as far as consumers are concerned, if their demand was for faster speeds, this can be delivered through a more robust 4G infrastructure.

“I strongly believe that the ecosystem needs further nurturing and policy areas need to be developed to attract operators. 5G requires fundamental changes in both investment strategy, spectrum policy and the deployment,” he said, adding that implementing 5G requires much higher initial investment costs.

He said the adoption and implementation of a 5G network requires a concerted effort by all stakeholders to revise outdated policies, ensure the availability of affordable smart devices, enter into partnerships, collect investments, freeing up spectrum, developing digital skills, creating demand and fostering innovation.

Countries that launched 5G commercially first achieved nearly 70% or more 4G penetration.

According to the latest figures, 4G penetration in Pakistan currently stands at 43%, while about 45% of the current subscriber base in Pakistan does not use mobile broadband and 15% of the population lives without any telecom coverage, Mr. Ibrahim said.

Vikram Sinha of Indosat Ooredoo – Indonesia’s telecommunications provider – expressed similar views and said that it needed more than just a speed game and that it

It was also clear that solving the problem of slow mobile data service can be solved with the support of policies.

“For us, the 5G journey must be much more meaningful than the need to create a big noise,” Sinha said.

Indosat launched its 5G services in the Indonesian city of Surakarta in June this year and has since expanded to other cities including Jakarta and Surabaya.

Joachim Horn, Chief Technology and Information Advisor of Smart Communications, Inc. of the Philippines, spoke about the launch of 5G in the country.

“We decided to launch 5G when smartphone prices fell to around $150, but on the enterprise side, the situation was completely different,” he said.

While responding to a question about lessons learned from 5G launches in advanced economies, industry experts said landscapes and policies differ significantly from country to country.

He gave examples of Japan and China allocating free 5G spectrum, while South Korea is offering tax breaks to operators to offset deployment costs.

Posted in Dawn, October 28, 2021

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