Pakistan to get 5G by 2022-23: Report

Islamabad, Jan 24: Pakistan has kick-started its journey to make the most advanced 5G internet commercially available to consumers in 2022-23, which would accelerate the download speed 10 times to one gigabit per second (Gbps) and widen economic activities significantly in the country, Express Tribune reported.

The government of Pakistan is developing a comprehensive roadmap for 5G technology readiness in the country.

It is aimed at auctioning “spectrum for…5G services in fiscal year 2023,” the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) said in its annual report 2020, the report said.

According to the report, the Covid-19 pandemic proved a blessing in disguise as the digital economy widened multi-fold during these testing times in Pakistan.

The crisis has prompted regulators and stakeholders to improve digital infrastructure.

Earlier, mobile phone service providing firms successfully conducted a test trial of 5G services under limited environment and on non-commercial basis in 2019 and 2020. Pakistan stands the first country in South Asia to test 5G “with a recorded download speed of more than one Gbps.”

The tested speeds stands 10 times high compared to 100 megabits per second (Mbps) on 4G internet in the world, it was learnt.

Federal Minister for IT and Telecommunication Aminul Haque said the government has planned to launch 5G technology by December 2022 but experts in different fields are still sceptical, believing the country will take a much longer time (5-7 years) to roll out the next-generation technology.

Haque made a test video call through 5G to China and said it was a wonderful experience. The voice was loud and clear, and the video quality was also wonderful, according to an international media outlet.

The modern technology would make great economic progress when it comes to Pakistan, Haque added.

GSM Association estimates the economic contribution of the mobile industry in Pakistan will reach $24 billion, contributing 6.6% to total gross domestic product (GDP) by 2023.

The telecommunication authority said it, along with the government, would publish a Spectrum Master Plan and a Spectrum Rolling Strategy to enable operators to plan their investments in a more efficient manner. Together, they will need to create an environment that encourages creativity and innovation so that large and small businesses can explore the possibilities created by 5G.

In Pakistan, 98% of the households own a mobile phone whereas penetration of mobile services reached 81.1% at the end of October 2020, with 172.3 million mobile subscriptions. Broadband subscriptions showed impressive growth trends of 17% during FY20, crossing the 90.1 million mark in October 2020, whereas 4G subscriptions registered an exponential 60% growth in FY20. Resultantly, total broadband penetration in Pakistan reached 42.4% by the end of October 2020. With the expansion of 3G and 4G services, an increase of 77% was seen in data usage for FY20. (Express tribune)

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