Cambodia takes lead in Southeast Asia’s 5G race

The 5G race has been competitive among mobile network providers and telecommunication giants.

Telecommunication giants collaborate with 5G providers to roll out new age technology

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The 5G race has been competitive among mobile network providers and telecommunication giants. Asia cemented itself as one of the frontrunners in rolling out the technology through the likes of China, South Korea and Japan.

These countries have showcased tremendous effort and invested millions in setting up the infrastructure when it came to implementing the 5G technology in the daily lives of people and industries.

The hype surrounding 5G technology debut in the Kingdom was worth it as Cambodia joined her counterparts in Asia, the race in Southeast Asia. Hoping to increase the impact of technology in the country, telco giants in Cambodia have been collaborating with mobile network providers to roll out the network.

Smart CEO Thomas Hundt speaks at the country’s first 5G live trial showcase CC/Siv Channa

Smart Axiata Co Ltd, for instance, held a live 5G trial, showcasing its capability and potential impact. The telco giant partnered with Huawei Technologies Co Ltd in order to introduce the technology. Meanwhile, Cellcard operator CamGsm Co Ltd is working closely with three providers, ZTE Corp, Nokia OYJ and Huawei.

Both telcos  aim to improve connectivity  which is a game changer for both the public and private sector, where the Internet’s immense potential can empower populations and boost the economy. Potential impacts of 5G range from powering sensors to managing smart cities and generating data.

Cellcard chief executive officer Ian Watson highlights how technology is going to play a large role in  Cambodia’s economy.

“We have got a far-reaching 5G plan that will drive the country’s economy through various sectors,” says Watson referring to Cellcard’s plan to implement its 5G services through augmented reality and virtual reality services in the country’s education sector.

Smart chief marketing officer Stejpan Udovicic shares similar optimism where he says the technology will create massive connections in order to address the rapidly expanding number of connected devices in the country.

Improving connectivity and upgrading sectors

Watson claims that with the introduction of 5G, other sectors, such as healthcare, agriculture, automotive, education and real estate would improve. While the initial roll-out will focus on providing high-speed and the ability to create hyperconnectivity between the people and machines, Cellcard is already in talks with other parties to implement their technology in other sectors. Watson adds that 5G will revolutionise the landscape via artificial intelligence, robotics, autonomous Internet-of-Things and big data analytics.

Ian Waston CEO cellcard

Similarly, Smart believes that the technology will improve streaming and performance of download tasks with ultra-low latency (delay), improving live quality broadcasts.

In terms of network penetration, Watson assures that when 5G technology starts rolling out, everyone in Cambodia would enjoy the full extent of the fifth generation cellular network technology.

Watson tells Capital Cambodia that while plans to roll out 5G in October 2019 is already in place, the company is set to face challenges in terms of convincing people that 5G will be able to bring about changes.

“There are two camps here, one that believes in 5G and the other that doesn’t,” he says. Having said that, he is certain that 5G implementation will bring about changes in Phnom Penh and other parts of the Kingdom.

However, there are concerns surrounding the marketing of  non-5G services that are niggling in the background. This is not only happening in the Kingdom but also in other parts of the world. Reports show that certain carriers have fraudulently advertised their network as 5G technology to gain traction.

On the issue of affordability, Watson says there should be little concern. “I say this because I learnt that manufacturers and handset providers in China are already looking at releasing affordable handsets priced between $100 and $250,” he explains, adding that this reduces the worry of affordability.

While the full extent of the 5G technology will not be witnessed till the last quarter of the year, its introduction to the Kingdom’s telecommunication landscape is in accordance with the government’s aim to achieve 100 percent broadband coverage in urban areas and 70 percent in rural areas, as well as Internet penetration by 2020.

Both telcos are optimistic that Cambodia will continue to take part in rapid digitisation and peservere to  lead the way in deployment of 5G technology in Southeast Asia.

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