The Financial Express

5G network guidelines drafted though 3G, 4G still not fully available

| Updated: January 12, 2021 10:57:21

- Picture used for illustrative purpose - Picture used for illustrative purpose

The telecoms regulator has floated a draft guideline on fifth-generation (5G) cellular network seeking opinions from stakeholders despite unavailability of full 3G and 5G networks in Bangladesh as yet.

The government aims to launch 5G technology in 2023 and make the network available in every district headquarters by 2026.

With 5G, mobile users can expect average download speed of at least 1.0 Gigabits per second, in contrast to 7.5 Megabits per second under 4G.

The licence for 5G network will be technology-neutral single licence as 'Cellular Mobile Services Operator Licence' unifying 2G, 3G, 4G/LTE and 5G, according to the draft guideline.

At present, there are separate cellular mobile phone operator licences for 2G, 3G and 4G/LTE services here.

The 5G system will provide possibilities for many new emerging services in different verticals, it said.

The BTRC uploaded the draft guideline on its website.

Robi Axiata chief corporate and regulatory officer Shahed Alam said the operators require adequate time and scope to create 5G ecosystem for better services.

The draft guideline did not address handset issue as handset is a major concern in the country, he added.

Mr Alam said mobile operators currently cover more than 90-per cent 4G network while only 20-per cent handsets are 4G-compatible.

"Without ensuring technology-compatible handsets," he said, "there is no use introducing new network."

The Robi executive said telecoms carriers should have capacity to sell 5G compatible handsets to make available 5G network services countrywide.

According to the draft, operators who will receive the 5G licence are required to provide 5G services in all divisional headquarters within 12 months from the date of its issuance.

The operators will have to provide 5G services in 50 per cent of district headquarters within two years.

The network must be made available in all district headquarters within 36 months from the date of issuance.

According to the draft, a licensee will pay Tk 100-million annual license fee to the BTRC for every year in advance on each anniversary of the licensing date.

A sum equivalent to 5.5 per cent of the annual audited gross revenue will be shared by the licensee to the BTRC on a quarterly basis within the first 10 Gregorian calendar days at the end of each quarter.

The licensing guideline is in line with the government's plan to introduce 5G to promote high-speed mobile broadband and multimedia communications, upscale usage of smart devices at the smart homes/cities.

The government wants to make the network affordable for all and also to promote the fourth industrial revolution.

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