Nepal is preparing to go for a testing phase of 5G mobile internet. Stakeholders are flexible to bring this new technology which is believed to be significantly faster than 4G and offers a smooth network in areas of high traffic.
Nepal Plans to test 5G for a Year
According to Nepal Telecommunication Authority, the fifth-generation network testing will be done in Kathmandu, Pokhara, Biratnagar, and Birgunj by end of this fiscal year.
Before we get more into the 5G network testing in Nepal, let’s understand more about the generation of wireless technologies which began four decades ago.
Generation of wireless technology explained
G in the networks means ‘generation of wireless technology. 1G is the first generation of wireless cellular technology which is mobile telecommunications introduced in the 1980s. This technology was based on Advanced Mobile Phone System (AMPS). 1G continued till the introduction of 2G.
In 2G, phone conversations were digitally encrypted and provided the ability Short Message Service (SMS), Multimedia Message Service (MMS), Email. The features were constantly updated throughout the decade.
3G was launched in 2001 with increased data transfer capabilities than 2G. It is believed that 3G was 4 times faster than 2G. 3G introduced the users to the world of video conferencing, video streaming, voice over internet protocol (VoIP) (for eg: skype). Many of the powerful features of Blackberry was made possible by 3G connectivity.
4G, which was first started in Sweden and Norway in 2009 as Long Term Evolution (LTE) 4G standard and is continuing to expand around the world. This technology introduced gaming services, HD videos, and HQ video conferencing. 4G offers 10 times more speed than a 3G network.
The latest of all is 5G, which is believed to lead the next digital revolution.
What makes 5G different than previous networks?
The technical advantage of the fifth generation is faster speed (10 Gbps, or around 10 times faster than 4G). Also, the latency delay between the sending and receiving information) is very low, 1 millisecond, or around 50 times lower than 4G). Having low latency allows having real-life interactivity for the cloud services.
That is why it is believed that 5G will have a bigger impact on enterprises than consumers. It promotes virtualization, Artificial Intelligence, Internet of Things, Cloud Computing, machine-to-machine connectivity automation and introduces new technologies like edge computing.
The resources will create a bridge for businesses for digital transformation and create new areas which were impossible with the traditional technologies.
What is Nepal up to?
According to a report by GSMA, there will be 1.8 billion 5G connections by 2025 and the developed part of Asia and the US will lead the way.
Governments have started deploying 5G cellular networks in their respective countries. Nepal is also in the race, and it is ready to go with the trial.
According to Min Prashad Aryal, director of, Nepal Telecommunication Authority, the authority has to get approval from National Frequency Determining Committee for deployment are discussing the frequency allocation, cost analysis, business cases and application, potential infrastructure, licensing procedures, and approval.
He shares that the technology will be tested for a year in different cities before it goes for commercial operation. “Nepal Telecom will carry out the trial for around one year, for free of cost,” says Aryal.
“It is not piloting, it is just a testing of 5G network,” says Rajesh Joshi, Spokesperson at Nepal Telecom. “We need to get a frequency from a concerned body, bring and build infrastructure, deploy in the places and go for trial,” he says.
Challenges regarding the 5G implementation are similar throughout the world. One of the major challenges is the additional infrastructure required to implement the network. Providers need to lay the groundwork for new technology and need to install new antennas and base stations.
Currently, Nepal is doing the cost analysis and it has no idea regarding a potential investment. “Few infrastructures built for 4G can also be used in 5G. Apart from that, we are still in the process of cost analysis,” Joshi from Nepal Telecom says.
ICT Expert Manohar Bhattarai says that we need to identify business cases for fifth-generation technologies.“Building a network is expensive and provider and the state will get revenue only when it gets the right customer. So, doing a trial before implementation is necessary,” he shares.
There are other challenges like readiness to adopt new technology, lack of enough devices to use 5G for a commercial purpose, and its pricing.
Especially, in a country like Nepal where 4G is not affordable, commercial deployment of 5G will become extremely challenging if the concerned authorities don’t consider revising the pricing of mobile data.
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