Telecom regulator invites firms to submit plan for implementing 5GThe study will also find out how 5G technology will impact social, economic and technological growth and help digital transformation.
The much-awaited 5G trial has moved a step closer to happening with Nepal’s telecom regulator asking firms to submit expressions of interest to prepare an action plan for implementing the super fast new technology for mobile networks.
The Nepal Telecommunications Authority has given potential applicants a November 10 deadline to send in their "master action plan for implementation and promotion of 5G in vertical sectors".
The scope of the work includes identification and recommendation of the roles and responsibility of the authority, government, public sector and other stakeholders to ensure the effective and efficient use of 5G for digital transformation.
The authority said that 5G equally aimed to establish industrial communications in vertical sectors such as automotive, healthcare, manufacturing, energy, food and agriculture, city management, government, public transportation, media and others to help digitise the economy and contribute towards global digital transformation.
The expected date of commencement of the assignment is mid-January 2022, the authority said.
Ambar Sthapit, director of the Nepal Telecommunications Authority, said they were in discussion with Nepal Telecom to begin a 5G test. The government has allowed the state-owned telecom giant to conduct the trial.
The Ministry of Communication, Information and Technology has given approval to the authority to determine the frequency for 5G trial. The authority, however, is yet to issue approval for the frequency.
Sthapit said they would also study the readiness of different sectors to adopt 5G technology.
According to the authority, the study will also find out how 5G technology will impact social, economic and technological growth and help digital transformation by analysing national and international scenarios.
The final study report needs to be submitted by the consultant firm within six months from the date of the contract, as per the authority.
The 5G technology is meant to deliver higher multi-Gbps peak data speeds, ultra-low latency, more reliability, massive network capacity, increased availability, and a more uniform user experience to more users, the authority said.
The 5G wireless mobile network was expected to be set up in Kathmandu and three other major cities under a pilot project by the end of the last fiscal year.
The Nepal Telecommunications Authority had rolled out its Trial Working Procedure 2021 for 5G mobile internet service, allowing telecom companies to conduct test runs of the super fast 5G technology, but they have not been able to move ahead as spectrum allotment has been held up.
The working procedure was released on July 19, but the trials had to be postponed due to setbacks resulting from recent political developments, officials said.
On February 1, the authority submitted a proposal to the National Frequency Determining Committee to allow 5G operation in the country.
According to the authority, 5G bands can be used on the existing ones. As per the technology-neutral principle policy, the operator can use 3G, 4G or 5G on the same band by obtaining permission from the authority.
The authority will provide spectrum to telecom operators without cost to carry out 5G trials, and they cannot charge users during the test period either.
Nepal is racing to become the first country in South Asia to offer super fast connectivity, but political instability may prevent it from achieving the goal.
Telecom operators in India have already started 5G tests in different parts of the country with the government allowing trials in May this year.
Digital Nepal Framework has identified "One Nation, Eight Sectors and 80 Digital Initiatives" to enable Nepal to make growth potential by leveraging disruptive technologies and driving socioeconomic growth. The key sectors acknowledged by the framework are digital foundation, agriculture, health, education, urban infrastructure, energy, tourism and finance.
As per the authority's work procedure for the 5G trial, the test may last two-three months or even a year, and no charge will be applied during the period.
As of mid-September, the country had a total 33.45 million internet subscribers, according to a report of the authority.
The 5G technology standard for cellular broadband networks offers faster connections, higher throughput and more capacity than 4G, and will benefit areas of high traffic such as public places.