IT ministry seeks cabinet’s approval to roll out 5G
ISLAMABAD: Ministry of information and technology on Thursday sought an approval from the federal cabinet to roll out a world’s tech hot buzz fifth generation (5G) in order to improve mobile broadband speed across the country.
The proposal, if approved, will enable market test of new and upcoming technologies, including 5G and other mobile communications. It will also make the country one of first countries to test, trial and launch the 5G mobile technology.
The draft proposal includes policy directives for the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) and Frequency Allocation Board, which will identify appropriate bandwidth in the frequency spectrum blocks currently under consideration for 5G. A new regulatory framework will also be issued to govern the new technology.
“The ministry has stayed committed to accelerated digitisation through proliferation of broadband and particularly mobile broadband,” State Minister for IT Anusha Rahman said while releasing the policy directive for consideration of the cabinet.
“Keeping the focus we shall ensure that Pakistani nation stays at the cutting edge of technology and the policy directive is meant to ensure and showcase the continued commitment.”
The 5G technology is currently under the research and development phase worldwide and it is expected to be standardised by International Telecommunication Union Radio communication sector in 2019.
The government has already conducted three successful commercial auctions of frequency spectrum.
In 2014, the country began the much-awaited auction of 3G and 4G mobile phone networks, earning it more than one billion dollars. Mobile broadband penetration is expected to reach 38 percent in the country by the next year from a little over 30 percent at present.
The ministry’s proposal further said testing entities will be allowed access to such frequency blocks for testing purposes only. PTA will roll out such test trial facility for the new technologies through a regulatory framework to be issued in line with the Telecom Policy 2015 for temporary test and development licenses/authorisations within three months.
The regulatory framework will include criteria for the provision of the test licenses, conditions, duration and other terms and conditions of reissuing the test licences on expiry.
PTA is tasked to engage all the concerned organisations, such as telecommunications operators, equipment manufacturers and research and development institutes for a successful execution of 5G trials to ensure inclusiveness of all the stakeholders in new and innovative ventures.
The working to be set up for execution of this policy will also recommend further suitable frequency bands if required in view of future technology/standards development as well as other technical and logistical requirements for the trials. Test and trials will be regularly published in the annual report of PTA to keep the transparency of the process and apprise public about developments ensuing from such technology.
Rahman said 5G is expected to be a big catalyst in taking Pakistani information and communication technology sector market and usage to a whole new level for the benefit of economy and masses.
The technology is the next big evolution, which will enable new ground breaking data rates and revolutionise the customer experience for services/applications compared to what is available today.