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Serious steps to deploy 5G networks in Colombia

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Serious steps to deploy 5G networks in Colombia

On June 25, 2020, the Ministry of Information Technologies and Communications in Colombia has granted five radio spectrum permits for 5G technical network tests. Empressa de Telecomunicaciones de Bogotá S.A., Colombia Telecomunicaciones S.A. E.S.P (Movistar), Comunicación Celular S.A. Comcel S.A, (Claro) Xiro Investment Group SAS, and ITICS S.A.S were given 3.5GHz spectrum for a six-month 5G trial, extendable for another 6 months.

Based on this non-commercial pilot project, Claro Colombia will collaborate with different public and private institutions to explore different areas such as e-commerce, public health.  

Colombia has set the “Transition to New Technologies Plan” which consists of moving consumers off 2G and 3G networks to 4G networks as a minimum, according to FinanceColombia.com. Based on this plan, 5G networks will be deployed before the end of 2022. Thus, the Colombian government wants to test the infrastructures and have been granting licenses for testing which will take place in 36 Colombian cities. According to CMS Law, the rules for 5G have not been drafted yet.

The ICT Ministry (Mintic) was planning to launch the call for pilots on March 17, 2020. Mintic has already received more than 40 proposals for small-scale pilots, including players like Huawei, ZTEm Millicom, and Telefónica.

Back to April 5, 2019, Colombia’s Ministry of Information Technology and Communications, and the National Spectrum Agency invited telecom operators for public consultation on 5G Spectrum. The deadline for submissions was April 22.

The First 5G pilot project in Colombia is already running using China Telecom giant Huawei’s equipment. On the other hand, early August 2019, ZTE has signed an agreement with Universidad Distrital Francisco José de Caldas (UDFJC), to support the development of 5G network in Colombia, according to ZDNET. A five-year partnership that will allow ZTE and UDFJC “training 5G talents together”, in addition to making “technical preparations”. Working with the Chinese company could be a nightmare for Colombia following the US-Huawei debate. Sylvia Constaín, Minister of Information Technologies and Communication, avowed “Restricting Huawei or other companies to take part in the 5G auction is not in the plans,” according to Colombian La Republica.

The Colombia- Telecoms Infrastructure, Operators, Regulations- Statistics and Analyses 2019 report states that the country has poor infrastructures in small urban centers and rural areas. However, it is reasonably well developed in the main business centers.

Ranine joined Inside Telecom as an Investigative Journalist. Her extensive fieldwork and investigations shed light on many socio-economic issues. Over the past few years, she has transformed her key findings into in-depth analytical reports. She earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Communication.

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Smart targets triple-digit growth in 5G users in next few years

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Philippines operator Smart Communications targets a triple-digit increase of its 5G user base in the next few years.

Smart currently has 800,000 5G customers, which represents a 200 percent increase from December 2020. Smart also reports a 3-fold increase in 5G data traffic in its network in the first and second quarters of 2021.

“When it comes to 5G, speed and coverage are the most important considerations. This is why since we pioneered the Philippines’ first 5G commercial service last year, our focus has been to lead in both 5G speeds and 5G coverage so as to empower Filipinos with world-class customer experience,” said Alfredo S. Panlilio, PLDT Inc. and Smart Communications President and CEO.

According to Smart, this outlook is based on the rapid growth of Smart 5G users, which has reached around 800,000 – a 200 percent increase from the number of Smart 5G users in December 2020.

Additionally, the operator has delivered a three-fold increase in 5G traffic in the first and second quarter of 2021 which contributed to Smart’s 39.5 million mobile data users as of end-June, resulting in a double-digit increase in mobile data revenues compared to the same period last year.

Ookla has recognized Smart as the fastest and most reliable 5G mobile network in the Philippines for Q1 and Q2 with media download and upload speeds that are twice faster than its closest rival.

Smart is also the only Philippine telco service provider included in Opensignal’s 5G Global Leaders for Video Experience ranked alongside other 5G leaders such as South Korea’s SK Telecom, KT and LG U+, Thailand’s AIS, and other operators from Croatia, Finland, Hong Kong, Germany, Netherlands, Taiwan, and United Kingdom. To date, Smart has also deployed over 4,400 5G sites in more than 4,000 locations.

“By having both the fastest and widest 5G network in the country today, Smart is in the best position to drive 5G adoption among Filipinos so that they can experience its game-changing benefits when it comes to productivity, business, and entertainment,” said Panlilio.

To date, Smart has also deployed over 4,400 5G sites in more than 4,000 locations – the widest 5G network coverage in the country.

Early this month, Smart also put the Philippines on the 5G world map as it fired up the first batch of its commercial 5G Standalone (SA) sites in Makati City, one of the first 5G SA networks in the world.

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Airtel, Ericsson launch India’s first rural 5G trial

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Indian Telecom operator Bharti Airtel and Swedish vendor Ericsson initiated a plan of what seems to be India’s first rural 5G network trial, enabling access to high broadband in the areas.

Initiated in the village Bhaipur Bramanan by using a 5G trial spectrum given to Airtel from India’s Department of Telecom, the trial could hold great capabilities to break the digital divide between urban and rural parts of the country.

The 5G trial determined speed efficiency as it covered 200 Mbps through a 3GPP-compliant 5G fixed wireless access (FWA) device, reaching a distance of over 10 km from the initial site’s location, at a distance of approximately 20km. Airtel delivered the 5G trial’s coverage via its existing 4G towers. 

3GPP, defined as the 3rd Generation Partnership, unites seven telecommunication standard development organizations under one umbrella, known as “Organizational Partners.” It provides members with a stable environment to create Reports and Specifications that define 3GPP technologies.

The project covers main pillars related to telecommunication technologies, such as radio access, core network, and service capabilities.

Moreover, the trial demonstrated promising results in terms of speed as it marked a 100MB/s speed on a smartphone.

Both companies disclosed that the 5G trial’s results have showcased that the technology is fit to deliver high-speed exposure in remote areas.

“The technology milestone of extended coverage achieved by Ericsson and Airtel as part of the ongoing 5G trial in India is even more significant since it demonstrates how 5G can ‘connect the unconnected in India, enable faster 5G rollout and truly help India realize its ‘Digital India’ vision,” Head of Ericsson Southeast Asia, Oceana and India, Nunzio Mirtillo said in a statement.

Earlier this year, Airtel deployed its urban 5G trials, after acquiring a license in May, and will stay in effect for six months. The telco revealed that 5G will play a fundamental role in intertwining India’s rural population of 900 million in a digital way.

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Ericsson, Singtel partner on 5G services in Singapore

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Ericsson and Singtel have partnered on the deployment of 5G services in Singapore, by having the partnership benefit from Ericsson’s networking expertise and Singtel’s 5G network, test facilities and capabilities.

The partnership also involves collaboration with global industry partners across various industries such as oil and gas, maritime, pharmaceutical, aerospace, financial services, retail and construction.

Thee global partners are ABB, Axis Communications, Bosch, Bosch Rexroth, DHL Supply Chain, Hexagon, PTC and Rohde & Schwarz as well as Cradlepoint (part of Ericsson and provider of enterprise 5G wireless edge solutions).

Ericsson said in a statement, “Singtel recently announced a ramp up of its 5G roll out across Singapore and to accelerate the adoption of 5G by enterprises.”

Mr Bill Chang, Chief Executive Officer, Group Enterprise at Singtel, said, “We are always looking for ways to stimulate conversations and drive even more innovation to encourage more 5G adoption by enterprises.”

He added: ”Our partnership with Ericsson has been key to our 5G roll out and offers us a unique opportunity to come together to build an open platform for enterprises to ideate, co-create, test and eventually go-to-market.”

We have seen some encouraging outcomes from our early trials, Chang noted, and the key to that success is our common goal of transforming the future of business operations by harnessing the power of 5G.

“These trials are the springboard to more innovation and we welcome more enterprises to come on board with their ideas.”

 A total of three trials are ongoing, with ABB, Hexagon and Axis Communications among the first companies to have started their trials, which span across advanced manufacturing, logistics, smart city development, analytics and industrial automation.

ABB has successfully tested the potential of 5G in the industrial manufacturing space, supporting the low latency operation of an ABB collaborative robot. The test was conducted in ABB’s workshop, where ABB’s single-arm YuMi® cobot was connected to Singtel’s 5G GENIE to access an on-site Multi-Access Edge Computing (MEC) platform.

The partnership builds on the joint 5G initiatives rolled out by both companies in the past year. These include achieving Singapore’s fastest 5G speeds of 3.2 Gbps at Singtel’s unmanned pop-up retail store UNBOXED, using Ericsson’s high bandwidth, low latency 28 GHz mmWave technology as well as Singtel’s GENIE, the world’s first portable 5G-in-a-box platform powered by Ericsson to enable enterprises to experience 5G’s capabilities and trial use cases in their own premises.

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