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Bhutan Begins 5G Test, May Launch Commercially This Year

Bhutan has begun the 5G test with Ericsson’s equipment. Bhutan Telecom, the country’s largest telco calls it a 5G soft launch and is likely to commercially launch the fifth-gen mobile network this year.

The telecom operator Bhutan Telecom has partnered with the Swedish equipment maker, Ericsson for its 5G development.

Nunzio Mirtillo, Head of Ericsson South East Asia, Oceania, and India spoke of his delight at the collaboration with the small South Asian kingdom. He said, “We are delighted to partner with Bhutan Telecom on deploying 5G in Bhutan. 5G will undoubtedly serve as a socio-economic multiplier for the country. 5G with its better performance, ultra-high-speed, and reliability will benefit consumers through use cases like enhanced mobile broadband and Fixed Wireless Access initially.

Ericson has been a long presence in Bhutan’s telecommunications development. Since 2004, the Swedish company has been involved in the country’s mobile network evolution starting with 2G, 3G, and 4G.

Bhutan’s 5G Roll-Out In Phases

Bhutan Telecom expects a commercial launch of 5G in November or December. Meanwhile, the telco will deploy the network in phases with the first round of rollout arriving to select areas of Thimphu and Paro. The birth of 5G will have a positive impact on Bhutan’s businesses, industries, and service sectors.

Bhutan Telecom 5G soft launch

“In some of the advanced countries, they are doing test case of 5G on an ambulance, on remote mining and in the Internet of Things and in driverless cars. These are possibilities that are going to come. As an operator, we have brought in the technology. We do hope there will be industries or ICT entrepreneurs in the country who will take advantage of this technology to bring up these applications of  5G in Bhutan,” said Jichen Thinley.

Partnering with Ericson, Bhutan Telecom is developing a non-standalone (NSA) 5G architecture. That is it will be based on the existing 4G infrastructures. Check out: 5G network types and variants

Bhutanese media have reported there BTL has got 12 stations in Thimphu for 5G and will establish 18 others in the next two months.

Bhutan’s second-largest telco TashiCell is also preparing for the 5G birth. The company is working on beginning its 5G commercial plans by the year-end.

The launch of 5G technology is expected to boost the country’s effort of achieving a technology-driven digital society in the years to come.

Don’t miss: 5G technology explained with services and applications

5G in Nepal

When NTC, Nepal’s state telco is spearheading the country’s 5G launch but is awaiting the spectrum by the telecommunications authority NTA. If anything goes as planned, Nepal could see the beginning of the 5G trial within 2021.

Meanwhile, Ncell Axiata, the private telco is also seeking approval by NTA for its 5G goals.

India has also switched on its 5G network and currently is in trials. Bhutan has also begun initial 5G testing.

Where do you see Nepal in 5G leaderboards among the SAARC neighbors? Do let us know in the comments.

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