NTC will begin a trial of its next-gen cellular standard 5G this coming June. As per the officials, the commercial launch could be possible by June 2022 which is the end of the current FY 078/79.
The state-owned telecom operator received approval and the spectrum from the regulator a few months ago. The telco is now set to turn on the revolutionary 5G standard in the 2600 MHz band. The operator will also be the first telco to launch the much-anticipated mobile communications standard in Nepal.
5G will bring a remarkable advancement on mobile broadband with potential applications in health, education, manufacturing industries, etc. Its high speed at low latency means interactive activities on the internet will have a transformative improvement.
Nepal Telecom received the approval and spectrum for the 5G trial back in November.
After this, NTC had formed a team in December to spearhead its 5G. Minu Pradhan, Director of Wireless Service Directorate at NTC said to the Kathmandu Post, “If everything proceeds as planned, we shall start the 5G trial in various locations within the next six months.”
So far, the gear makers have handed in their proposals to the operator including the cost of hardware, and technical requirements for the trial. Pradhan says, its working team will give a verdict on the proposal and begin procurement shortly.
She said, “The team shall finalize the proposal by next week and then import the infrastructure for the trial.”
However, they can’t rule out the delay due to the Omicron spread. The new form of COVID-19 could affect the shipping. Pradhan later added that the hardware could arrive in the next 3 months if it doesn’t face any adversity.
The telecom regulator has allocated a 2600 MHz frequency band to Nepal Telecom for the trial. It will operate in 2500 MHz – 2560 MHz, a total of 60 MHz. This band is also known as n41 or more popular mid-band which will deliver a good mix of speed and coverage.
The state telco will comply with NTA’s working procedure for the new technology testing including the 5G trial. It will switch on the 5G in both rural and urban settings to uniformly dedicate the broadband service to comply with the ethos of the Digital Nepal Framework that seeks to narrow the digital divide.
Besides, NTC will run its 5G trial without charging its customers and will be available in a few select areas which could be around the vicinity of the Kathmandu valley. The users on compatible handsets will have a free run on the 5G network during the trials when its launches possibly by this June.
The trial will help the operator and also the regulator to understand the viability, and the scope of 5G in Nepal and its application on the users’ end. The 4G has reached nationwide and will soon reach across all the local levels. But the smart home devices, AI, and IoT have entered Nepal, and with OTT and interactive internet on the rise, 5G could be the frontier we need. Let’s keep our fingers crossed and hope the 5G is coming at its expected timeframe.
How excited are you with NTC finally closing in on its 5G trial? Or are you rather content with the 4G LTE? Let us know how you feel about the next-gen cellular network in the comments below.