South Asia's first test run of fifth generation (5G) mobile internet took place in Dhaka yesterday when download speeds of up to 4.17 gigabits per second were experienced.
Prime Minister's ICT Affairs Adviser Sajeeb Wazed Joy witnessed the speed on a mobile device at “Bangladesh 5G Summit 2018” at the Pan Pacific Sonargaon in Dhaka and expressed satisfaction.
Joy said Bangladesh would be one of the first countries to deploy 5G technology. “This is my promise for the next election,” he said, pointing out that the government had kept its last pre-election pledge of making 4G available.
The demonstration was organised by the Ministry of Posts, Telecommunications and Information Technology in cooperation with telecom vendor Huawei and mobile operator Robi.
Internet in Bangladesh is one of the cheapest in the world, said Joy, adding, “I have put pressure on the regulators to reduce the cost of internet by 99 percent within five years.”
Recalling the present government's early days in telecom service 10 years ago, he said, “We were one of the most backward countries in the world.”
“And now Bangladesh is moving to be the first few in terms of technology adoption and telecom services. I want Bangladesh to relentlessly move forward in technological adoption,” he said.
According to BBC, most countries are unlikely to launch 5G services before 2020, but Qatar's Ooredoo says it has already launched a commercial service, while South Korea is aiming to launch it next year, with its three largest network operators agreeing to kick off at the same time. China is also racing to launch services in 2019.
Recognising issues centring mobile internet service quality, especially of 3G and 4G, the event organisers said their aim was to show how a 5G ecosystem could be cultivated in a Digital Bangladesh alongside the economic transformation of Bangladesh as well as the operators.
They said this next generation of wireless technology was expected to change everyday life, playing a vital role in the adoption of self-driving vehicles, artificial intelligence, virtual reality, big data, the Internet of Things and smart cities.
Acknowledging doubts over readiness for 5G, State Minister for ICT Zunaid Ahmed Palak said the government always thought ahead of time and the test run was a part of preparations.
Telecom and ICT minister Mustafa Jabbar presided over the event.
Imran Ahmed, chairman of the parliamentary standing committee on the telecom and ICT ministry; Shyam Sunder Sikder, secretary to the ministry; Mahtab Uddin Ahmed, Robi managing director and CEO; James Wu, president of Huawei Southeast Asia, and Zhang Zhengjun, CEO of Huawei Technologies (Bangladesh) Ltd, were present.