Launching 5G services in the country will take 5 years, PTA tells Senate committee – Tech

The Pakistan Telecommunications Authority (PTA) said Monday that it would take four to five years to introduce 5G services in the country.

The PTA member, Dr. Khawar Siddique Khokhar, during an information session for the Standing Committee on Information Technology of the Senate, sought two months to present a plan.

During the briefing, the PTA member reported that a 5G policy had been established in 2017 and that in June of this year, the authority had devised a framework for 5G. "The PTA issued a framework for testing and development of future technologies, particularly fifth-generation wireless networks in Pakistan, in June 2019," he said.

He said that Zong and other cell phone operators subsequently approached the authority and requested permission for the trial, which was granted.

He further clarified that Zong had performed a site test and not a network test. "5G technology has not been introduced commercially, nor is Zong authorized to do so," he said.

The PTA member made it clear that the permit granted to Zong was limited to a three-month trial period and not for commercial use. He also said that the PTA was responsible for eliminating the concerns expressed by the relevant quarters and that the authority would do so.

Khokhar, referring to an announcement published by Zong regarding his 5G test, said the company was banned from announcing the test. He added that a notice had been sent to Zong for issuing the "deceptive" announcement.

Senator Shahzad Waseem said that all interested sectors should play a "crystal clear game" and that everyone should be given equal opportunities.

Senator Kulsoom Parveen noted that Zong had abused permission to test 5G.

Khokhar said the technology will have to face multiple adoption challenges, including the availability of spectra. The problem of spectrum rates has not yet been resolved, he said.

The analyzes of the impacts of 5G on human health, the right of way, applications, security and infrastructure have not yet been carried out. I expected the technology to be applicable by 2021.

"As of now, the PTA is not ready for the launch of 5G technology," he said.

The IT secretary ordered the PTA to consider Senator Attique in connection with a decision on the cost of the 5G spectrum.

Senator Attique Shaikh said it will be better for the authority if he leads the trial. In response, the PTA member said that the 5G trial or operation is outside the authority's mandate. Operators around the world make preparations on their own, he said.

"Since October 2017, all network operators were making arrangements for a 5G test," he said, adding that on July 23, Telenor had submitted a request for the test. On August 8, Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited (PTCL), and on July 31, Mobilink and SCO also submitted their requests for a trial.



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