Nigeria, in November 2019, became the first country in West Africa to test-run 5G technology and applications. 5G is the fifth generation of wireless communications technologies supporting cellular data networks. 5G communication requires the use of communications devices (mostly mobile phones) designed to support the technology.
A statement by a telecom giant in the country, MTN Nigeria, said the feat became possible as a result of the strong collaboration between the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy, the Nigerian Communications Commission, (NCC), MTN Nigeria, Huawei (Abuja), ZTE (Calabar) and Ericsson (Lagos.) The scientific consensus is that 5G technology is safe, but speculation about possible hazards has given rise to concern being expressed in the media.
Misunderstanding of 5G technology has given rise to a number of conspiracy theories that claim it has an adverse effect on human health. This has led to some resistance from citizens across the globe.
In Nigeria, there are fears that the 5G may increase the cases of the coronavirus disease but the Minister of Communication and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Pantami, has debunked the claim.
In line with this, we have compiled few of the countries who have installed the technology and are currently putting it to use without any adverse effect.
Telstra began its 5G service in areas of Sydney and Melbourne in May 2019 with plans to roll out the service to other cities in the coming years. Optus has also switched on 5G in limited areas, and are currently expanding their 5G network across Australia. Vodafone’s 5G network is expected to go live in mid-2020.
China has launched its 5G national network and started commercial operation on 1 November 2019. At launch, Chinese state media called it the world’s largest 5G network. Finland Finland held an auction for 5G spectrum in 2018. In this the three telecom operators Elisa, DNA and Telia all won a license to use the 3.5 GHz spectrum for 5G networks. As of March 3, 2020, all three have commercial network in few cities, Elisa operating in most (11 cities), but all three are expanding their coverage throughout 2020.
Hong Kong held an auction for 5G spectrum in October 2019, with a total of 200 MHz of spectrum in the 3.5 GHz band auctioned off to four mobile network operators at a total of HK$1.006 billion. The operators are China Mobile Hong Kong (CMHK), Hong Kong Telecom (HKT), Hutchison Telecom, and SmarTone. On 1 April 2020, three operators; CMHK, HKT, and Hutchison officially launched their 5G services and tariff plans to the public.
In August 2019, Vodafone Ireland switched on 5G connectivity in Cork, Dublin, Galway, Limerick and Waterford cities initially, with a view to expanding its network over time. Eir switched on 100 sites across 10 towns and cities during October 2019 with plans to add another 100 sites by the end of the year. Telecom Imagine offers fixed 5G broadband in mostly rural areas of the country which do not have fibre broadband.
After early 5G trials in August 2019, Vodafone NZ launched its 5G service in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Queenstown on December 10, 2019, with plans to roll out the service to other cities in 2020. Vodafone has partnered with Nokia to provide 5G.
In Norway, the first 5G-test was done in 2017. Telenor launched 5G in Elverum in September 2019, planning to launch in Trondheim soon after. Competitor Ice claimed to be ready for 5G in Oslo and Akershus, Drammen, Bergen, Fredrikstad, Sarpsborg, Stavanger og Sandnes, Trondheim, Skien, Porsgrunn and Kristiansand in November 2019. Telia plan to start their 5G network in 2020, with full national coverage by 2023.
5G in the Philippines started in 2016 when Smart Communications tested 5G and recorded a speed of 2.5 Gbit/s and 14.97 Gbit/s in its Technolab test in 2018, laying the groundwork for 5G infrastructure in the country. Globe Telecom started offering 5G services in the Philippines since July 2019, making Philippines the first country to roll out 5G network in Southeast Asia, and third in Asia after South Korea and Japan. Huawei being Globe Telecom’s long time partner ensures that the Philippines will be ahead of other countries in developing its 5G spectrum. The telco titan forged a partnership with the Araneta Group to launch 5G technology in Araneta City, which will be transformed into the country’s first Smart 5G Lifestyle Hub. Local telecoms are also ramping up their 5G infrastructure investment through the help of other 5G technology providers.
State-owned Exatel was the first company to conduct the test of 5G connectivity in Poland in 2017. In December 2018, T-Mobile launched first 5G tests in Warsaw with hardware from Huawei, and Katowice and Orange Polska in Gliwice. In March 2019, Orange Polska together with Ericsson launched test in Zakopane, followed by Warsaw in September and together with Nokia in Lublin in October of the same year. In July 2019, Play launched another tests in Toruń and Grójec, using hardware from Huawei. In October, 2019, T-Mobile launched an experimental 5G installation in Kraków. The network created together with Nokia was activated in the headquarters of hub:raum innovation center. Its signal was available only inside the building for the T-Mobile business partners and startups cooperating with the innovation centre. Play was the first carrier to offer commercial 5G network in Gdańsk, Gdynia and Sopot from January, 2020. On January 3, 2020, Cyfrowy Polsat, owner of Plus, began 5G roll-out in seven cities. In 2020 the auction will be held by The Office of Electronic Communications to allocate further frequencies for 5G.
Starting May 2019, Vodafone Romania offer 5G connectivity in Bucharest, Cluj-Napoca and Mamaia. DIGI | RCS & RDS and Ericsson have been live with 5G mobile service in Romania since June 2019. Orange Romania switches on 5G network in November 2019 and has become the first country within the Orange S.A. Group to commercially launch 5G.
Thailand held an auction for 5G spectrum in February 16, 2020. On February 24, 2020, AIS announced the official launch of the First 5G service Commercial in Thailand. On March 17, 2020, TrueMove H became Thailand’s second operator to launch commercial 5G services after receiving its 2.6GHz spectrum licence.
The four major US carriers announced plans to deploy 5G in 2019, beginning with major metropolitan areas. On July 31, Atlanta became the first city to have it available from all four carriers. Both T-Mobile and AT&T launched low-band services on the first week of December 2019. T-Mobile CTO Neville Ray warns that speeds on their 600 MHz 5G may be as low as 25 Mbit/s down. AT&T, using 850 MHz, will also usually deliver less than 100 Mbit/s in 2019. The performance will improve, but cannot be significantly greater than robust 4G in the same spectrum. Verizon, AT&T, and almost all 5G providers in 2019 have latencies between 25–35 milliseconds. The “air latency” (between a phone and a tower) in 2019 equipment is 8–12 ms. The latency to the server, farther back in the network, raise the average to ~30 ms, 25–40% lower than typical 4G deployed. Adding “Edge Servers” close to the towers can bring latency down to 10–20 ms. Lower latency, such as the often touted 1 ms, is years away and does not include the time to the server. On March 27, 2019, Senator John Cornyn introduced the Secure 5G and Beyond Act of 2020 (S. 893), a bill that would require the President to develop a security strategy in regards to 5G and other next generation telecommunications systems and infrastructure. President Donald Trump signed the bill into law on March 23, 2020.
(Daily Trust and Additional materials from the web)