Nepal Telecom began its 5G trial on Magh 22, 2079 BS on the occasion of the company’s 19th anniversary at the Babarmahal and Sundhara sites. Currently, the company has 4 sites running internal testing for the fifth-generation cellular network with a plan for further expansion and public access in the coming months. Read more info about Ntc 5G trial, spectrum, further progress and more.
The company has been running internal tests of the most advanced cellular networks in its offices in Kathmandu, Pokhara, and Birgunj. So far, the company has pinned the blame on the lack of compatible devices for the delay in public access. However, Communication Minister Rekha Sharma has said that the highly expectant 5G smartphone users across Nepal could get 5G access later this year.
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Ntc 5G trial Progress
The government-backed communication company has installed the necessary infrastructure in the towers in the three aforementioned cities for 5G upgrade works. But just like in the capital, the trial remains internal meaning that the public will have to wait to test the speed of the fifth-generation cellular network.
For now, Nepal Telecom has been testing 5G in Kathmandu, Pokhara, and Birgunj respectively in Bagmati, Gandaki, and Madhesh Provinces. The company’s spokesman Shobhan Adhikari has earlier said that the telco plans to test the network in the remaining four provinces.
“We have not received the import license to bring the telco gears to start the 5G test in Koshi, Lumbini, Karnali, and Sudurpaschim provinces. We didn’t obtain the approval yet. But we may get it soon,’ Adhikari said on expanding trials to more areas, ‘Till now, it has not been decided in which place 5G will be tested. However, in the beginning, the testing will take place at the company’s offices. 5G infrastructures will be installed in the office structure (tower).”
Nepal Telecom started its long-anticipated 5G trial on Magh 22, 2079, (February 05, 2022) the company’s 19th anniversary day from Babarmahal and Sundhara. But the ultra-high-speed network is not to be ready for public access yet. So far, Ntc 5G is under testing among its employees.
Assessing the infrastructure compatibility for 5G
Regarding the progress for Ntc 5G, the company’s Managing Director (MD) Sunil Paudel had this to say at the company’s 19th-anniversary event, “The trial of 5G is ongoing by connecting various devices to the 5G network. Since the mobile service currently operating under GSM technology and the new 5G services are technically operated with different architectures, we are still determining whether the infrastructure and equipment currently in use in the company will be compatible/not compatible, should/should not be upgraded, should/should not be replaced in order to operate 5G commercially in the future”.
Earlier, the government-backed company called off its 5G trial due on (Poush 17) January 1 citing the absence of sufficient 5G-supported handsets. But even though it’s a “limited trial”, Ntc is expanding the network to more cities.
Ntc will start with NSA 5G and then move to SA architecture
Ntc plans to start off with Non-standalone architecture (NSA) 5G in the beginning and then switch to the Standalone (SA) infra. In 5G vocabulary, NSA is a system that allows 5G to work on its own dedicated infrastructures. The SA is the opposite which allows the operators to use the existing telco gears and with a slight modification, can start the blazingly fast 5G. Currently, many mobile network operators (MNOs) across the world are employing the 4G LTE hardware to operate NSA 5G. Read more on SA and NSA 5G deployments
Ntc says that it will also switch on its 5G service on 4G LTE infrastructure with updated software on the core. Currently, the telco is testing available 5G devices on the network from 4 operational trial sites.
Ntc 5G Trial in all seven provinces
Nepal Telecom has planned to start its 5G trial across seven provinces. The company’s spokesman, Mr. Adhikari, shared, “It is just a test for 5G. Since it is just a trial, everyone with a compatible handset can freely use the coveted network on their devices for free. Both users and the service provider will experience something new with the latest mobile network. It will also form the basis for its expansion in Nepal,” he added.
Likewise, Ntc is also importing 5G gear from abroad. It is identifying places from each province suitable for the trials. Ntc is preparing for the trial of the flagship 5G network trial in selected locations in the remaining provinces.
Ntc 5G frequency band 2600 MHz and speed
Ntc received the 5G spectrum from NTA over a year ago. The company is using the 2600 MHz band, also called the mid-band spectrum in the 5G terminology. It has 60 MHz frequency bandwidth for 5G broadband operation which provides a decent mix of both coverage and speed potential. We have unsubstantiated information from sources that the Ntc 5G trial delivers up to 1 Gbps download speed. It’s an elusive performance and won’t necessarily translate to real-world usage.
However, the end user could get around 300-400 Mbps speed capacity which is a global trend currently. A broadband network may offer a very high speed but there are several factors that affect its real-world performance. Read this post to learn more: State of 4G Speed and its Influencing Factors
Trial locations and when will the public get Ntc 5G?
After the first four sites in use for 5G trials, Ntc is in planning for its expansion. Next, the company could launch the trial in Nepalgunj, Biratnagar, and other cities. For rural settlements, a few rural municipalities will be selected around Kathmandu to accommodate diverse areas for the tests.
The company will also assess the possible use cases of 5G and its market demands when the public trial starts.
So far, the Ntc 5G trial is limited to the company insiders. But there is a likely possibility that the public will have access to it somewhere in FY 2080/81. By that time, as 5G network will expand more and more brands/devices support 5G network of Nepal.
5G is the next-generation cellular technology that will succeed today’s 4G network. 5G network will arguably bring a significant transformation in mobile broadband with potential applications in health, education, manufacturing industries, etc. The network’s high speed and low latency mean interactive activities via the internet will see a remarkable improvement. Also, its rise will also see the irrelevancy and phase-out of legacy networks- 2G and 3G.
Do you think 5G is essentially required in Nepal with the current-generation 4G network seemingly fulfilling our most internet needs or do you think it is inevitable with the expanding use cases of the broadband network? Do share your perspective in the comments below.
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