Asian telcos striving to become the 5G Pioneers

The World is growing smarter and faster. With the increase in mobile users every year, today’s mobile user also wants to rely on faster and reliable mobile services. According to stats, the number of connected devices in 2016 was around 6.4 billion, around the globe. And by 2020, this figure will grow up to 20.8 billion that is a massive increase. With each additional user, the system capabilities need to get advanced. People need a quick solution for their communication needs. That’s where 5G jumps in to revolutionize the world of networking. 5G, with its exceptional features, will take the cellular networks to new heights. Several mobile giants are testing 5G services and trying to get the most out of it. Many dealers are striving hard to get the 5G deals to attract a huge number of customers. Here is a review of 5G technology, its features and the dealers who will be providing 5G services throughout Asia.

What is 5G?

Nothing surprising! Just like the previous versions, 5G is the name given to the fifth generation of mobile and wireless networks. It will precede the existing 4G network with its overwhelming features. With 5G technology, there will open another era of cellular networking that will make the current LTE networks as slow as 3G seems at present.

The history of networking generation started back in 1982 when the first generation, referred to as 1G, hit the devices. It was completely analog system and was extremely slow. You had to wait for several minutes till it crawled to load even a few KBs image. In 1991, 2G took over and shifted the data to digital technology. 2G also coupled GPRS and EDGE technologies, used to handle cellular data. In 2000, 3G entered the race and took the mobile networking like a storm. It offered mind-blowing speed that was quite fascinating at that time. Around ten years later, 4G and 4G LTE came out and rocked the devices with incredible features. And now, it’s the turn for 5G to precede the existing networks and wrap up more startling features inside.

What will 5G pack inside?

A speed of 150 Mbps with 4G surprises you? Or speed of 300 Mbps with 4G LTE sounds great? Well, that’s nothing! Now you are going to experience the ultimate speed of 1Gbps to 10Gbps with 5G technology. So downloading a full HD movie will be a matter of a few seconds. For networks to tag themselves as 5G, a few standards have been declared by ITU. These include

  • 20Gbps peak download rate
  • 10Gbps peak upload rate
  • 30bps/Hz peak spectral efficiency downlink
  • 15bps/Hz peak spectral efficiency uplink
  • 100Mbps user experienced download rate
  • 50Mbps user experienced upload rate

Well, it’s not just the speed, 5G will also provide very low or almost nil latency rate. You can relate the latency rate to gaming. It is the lag that occurs between the hit of the keyboard key or mouse click and the server performing the move. It will improve the utilization of current frequency bands and add more frequency bands in cm/mm wavelength to improve the capacity and coverage. It will also handle up to 100 times more connected devices and increase the bandwidth up to 1000 times per unit area.

Asian Dealers striving for 5G Deals

China Mobile Communications – China

China Mobile Communications is the largest telecommunication services provider in China, headquartered in Beijing. It is a subsidiary of China Mobile Limited group. As per the stats of 2016, China Mobile is declared the world’s largest mobile phone operator by subscribers with customers reaching up to 859.9 million.

China Mobile has announced that it will develop 5G-related technologies with almost 40 companies around the globe. These companies will include the technology giants and telecom equipment manufacturers like Ericsson, Nokia, Huawei, Qualcomm, and Intel. China Mobile has already begun 5G trials in its testing facilities, and it aims to provide 5G services in Asia till 2018. It has already started upgrading the existing 4G base stations to bear advanced technology. Keep in mind that China is the leading country to invest in 5G services with investments crossing 43 billion USD.

Celcom Axiata Bhd – Malaysia

Celcom is considered the oldest mobile telecommunication service provider in Malaysia. Headquartered in Kuala Lumpur, Celcom is one of the very few telcos in Malaysia to obtain the cellular phone license.

Celcom has conducted the Malaysia’s first ever 5G test in collaboration with Ericsson. The company claimed to achieve a top speed of 18Gbps at 28 GHz band that is seriously mind-blowing. It also observed latency of just 3ms. Celcom signed a memorandum with Ericsson in February this year, aiming to provide 5G and IoT services in Malaysia. Celcom seeks to commercialize its 5G services in Asia in 2020. Meanwhile, Celcom is putting efforts to enhance its existing network capabilities to bridge the distance between 4G and 5G. It will soon roll out Lightning Fast LTE Advanced Network with 4×4 MIMO (multiple inputs multiple outputs) and 256 QAM. It will boost the data transfer rate to 480Mbps on the supported cell phones like Galaxy S8 and Huawei P10 Plus.

SK Telecom – Korea

SK Telecom is a Seoul-based wireless telecommunication service, cellular Internet, and IoT provider in South Korea. It is a part of the SK Group and is the largest wireless carrier in South Korea as it leads the market with nearly 50% shares. It possesses almost 29 million customers that are availing 4G services too.

SK Telecom has recently tested its 5G services together with Ericsson and BMW to provide a data transfer rate of 3.6Gbps on running cars traveling at 170 KPH. A manager at SK Telecom claims that 5G will roll out of the labs by the end of this year and it will be commercialized up to some extent. Unlike others, SK Telecom is working on network slicing method that is a virtual technique that allows carriers to split up their existing service into several pieces that can perform specific functions. With network slicing, a carrier would reserve some particular part of the connected cars and some other part of the sensors. This technique will exclude the risk of interference with different functions. Recently, during Mobile World Conference, SK Telecom has also showcased five-band carrier aggregation on LTE-Advanced that provides larger bandwidth and enhanced user data. The company claims to incorporate this technology in its 5G testing.

TrueMove H – Thailand

TrueMove H is the second largest telecom operator in Thailand. It is a subsidiary of True Corporation, headquartered in Bangkok.

TrueMove H, in collaboration with Ericsson, has tested its 5G services in Thailand that are being considered as the first ever 5G service test in Thailand. TrueMove website states that it has used Massive MIMO (multiple inputs multiple outputs) in TDD (time division duplex) system to develop the latest 5G technology. TDD is a transmission scheme that separates the uplink and downlink data signal flows. TrueMove is already providing its 4.5G services, dubbed as TrueMove H 4G+ in Thailand and it aims to upgrade the existing network to the latest 5G service very soon. Back in 2016, TrueMove H also received 5G & LTE Asia Awards in the Most Significant Development of a Commercial LTE Network category.

Huawei – China

Huawei Technologies is a Chinese multinational ICT provider headquartered in Shenzhen China. It is the largest telecommunication equipment manufacturer in the world as it preceded Ericsson back in 2012. Huawei has deployed its equipment in more than 170 countries and provides its services to almost 45 of the leading 50 leading telecom operators.

Recently Huawei has joined hands with the French telco group Orange to co-operate on 5G services. The two companies will focus on massive MIMO antennae technology, cloudification of mobile networks, network slicing, and channel sharing. Huawei is also putting joint efforts with Philippine’s largest telco Philippine Long Distance and Telephone Co (PLDT) to do research on 5G technology to provide services in the Philippines. The plan also includes the strategic and commercial development of 5G ecosystem and identification of areas that need 5G technology. Moreover, Huawei has signed a deal with Norway’s Telenor with a vision of commercializing 5G technology till 2020. Huawei has also signed an MOU with Japan’s SoftBank for the verification testing and technical evaluation of its TDD+ technology that relates to 4.5G mobile communication technology. Huawei claims to invest a minimum of $600 million in developing this technology.

Singtel – Singapore

Singtel, Singaporean Telecommunication Company, is one of the largest mobile network operators in Singapore and is listed among 20-30 world’s major operators. It has its presence in Asia, Australia, and Africa, providing its services to more than 640 million users in 22 countries like Indonesia, Philippines, and Thailand.

Recently, Singtel launched its 4G LTE services in Singapore providing a top speed of 450Gbps to its users. Singtel and Ericsson have also collaborated to pilot Massive MIMO and Cloud RAN on Singtel 4G LTE network. These both technologies will serve as a key component for the evolution of Gigabit 5G technology. Previously, Singtel and Ericsson joined hands in January 2015 and also became the pioneers to launch a 5G system in Southeast Asia in 2016, attaining a downlink speed of 27.5Gbps. The company aims to enhance its existing network to 5G technology due to a massive increase in video applications like Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented Reality (AR), 360° 4K videos, and live videos. Singtel also aims to take the communication technology to the skies by launching its 5G services by 2020.

KT Corporation – Korea

KT Corporation, formerly known as Korea Telecom, is one of the leading telecommunication and telephone services providers in South Korea, headquartered in Seongnam. It serves almost 90% of the country users with its telephone services and around 45% customers with internet services.

KT is launching its 5G services during PyeongChang Winter Olympics in Korea. It also claims to commercialize the world’s first 5G service in 2019. Previously, the company announced to market its 5G services in 2020 but in a recent speech, KT CEO has claimed that the company’s 5G services will hit the market in 2019 and it will be available to the public. He also boasted KT’s 5G-based services like Sync View and Time Slice. The Sync View will allow the viewers to experience FPV (First Person View) of the athletes competing in the games. On the other hand, Time Slice will provide 360° coverage of the ongoing competitions.

KT has conducted connectivity trails with Samsung at Samsung’s campus in Suwon, South Korea. According to Business Korea, KT has intentions to achieve a data transfer speed of 20Gbps. If KT successfully achieves this target, then it will become the fastest internet speed provider globally. KT has already been conducting 5G tests and Oh Seong-mok, KT’s vice-president, said in an interview that the company had achieved a speed of 2.3Gbps during these trials.

Image Source: Straitstimes

When will 5G hit your devices?

Speed tests are under experimentation in different testing facilities. Samsung claims to achieve a speed of 7.5Gbps, while Nokia takes it to the highest 10Gbps. Huawei, a Chinese mobile giant, allegedly speaks of delivering 3.6Gbps. The efforts predict the arrival of 5G very soon; still some researchers are of the view that 5G won’t be commercialized till 2020; however, South Korea is now making its worldwide debut at the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang.

Future of 5G

5G will, no doubt, storm the networking arena with its numerous features and super capabilities (read more about 5G network countries). It will rock the UAVs (unmanned automatic vehicles) because of its low latency, and fast speed as the communication between sensors and respondents will become delay-free. Manufacturers like General Motors, Volkswagen, and BMW, are taking a special interest in the development of 5G technology to equip their vehicles with the fastest internet facility. We find the upcoming 5G technology quite fascinating, but it leaves us with a question. While the world is making a transition towards 5G service, how many of us can access the 4G or even the very basic 3G or 2G service? To some people, even 3G sounds great!

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Sheharyar Khan

The author Sheharyar Khan

Sheharyar is a professional technical content writer who loves to explore new technologies, and penning them down mesmerizes him the most.

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