Bhutan to soon have 5G

Very soon Bhutan will be able to enjoy high-speed internet. Bhutan Telecom is testing 5G network in its premises which will soon be commercially launched while TashiCell plans to launch the network before the year ends. 5G is the fifth generation of mobile networks which is expected to be one of the fastest wireless technologies ever created. It is expected to be ten times faster than the 4G network.

With a 5G network, one can enjoy the luxury of downloading high definition videos within a few minutes. However, not all mobile phones support the technology.

Currently, only a few models of mobile phones support the 5G in the country. Apple’s latest phones including the iPhone 12 series and some Android phones such as a few of Samsung’s Galaxy series and some models of VIVO phones support the technology in the country.

“There is a series of negotiations with the handsets manufacturers and Bhutan Telecom is already in an advanced stage of discussions with android, making requests for support of 5G in Samsung and VIVO and also with Apple requesting to see if they can release patch supporting 5G,” said Jichen Thinley, the Bhutan Telecom’s 5G Project Manager.

Bhutan Telecom plans to begin the commercial rollout of the service only towards November or December. It will be deployed in a phased manner. In the first phase, it will be available in the selected areas of Thimphu and Paro. The introduction of the 5G network is expected to drive innovation opportunities for the businesses, industries and public sectors within the country.

“In some of the advanced countries, they are doing test case of 5G on an ambulance, on remote mining and in the Internet of Things and in driverless cars. These are possibilities that are going to come. As an operator, we have brought in the technology. We do hope there will be industries or ICT entrepreneurs in the country who will take advantage of this technology to bring up these applications of  5G in Bhutan,” said Jichen Thinley.

Bhutan Telecom is launching the 5G technology on a non-standalone platform meaning it will be built on the existing 4G infrastructure. So far, the company has prepared 12 stations in Thimphu and plans to set up 18 more in the next two months.

Meanwhile, TashiCell’s CEO said the company is currently working and testing the 5G technology to begin the commercial rollout by the year-end.

The launch of 5G technology is expected to boost the country’s effort of achieving a technology-driven digital society in the years to come.

Phub Gyem

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