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April 2019

5G in ASEAN still a way off despite optimism

Autonomous drones, 1GB file downloads in seconds, millions of sensors connected to the internet transmitting and receiving at the same time – these are just some of the potential uses of 5G networks when they become mainstream. But how close are we to actually experiencing this? Some network equipment makers and telcos predict that such services are expected to arrive between 2020 and 2021. But as sanguine as such predictions are, the reality for 5G materialising for the masses is unclear at best. The GSM Association (GSMA), an industry body representing 750 telcos and 350 companies, understandably remains optimistic. Its research suggests that at least 77 operators worldwide are trialling 5G across 49 countries. “Some 45 operators have announced 5G roll-outs across 32 countries,” claims Julian Gorman, head of Asia-Pacific for GSMA. “With that, we see that 5G is materialising globally.” But these are only announcements. As of now, the only commercially available 5G network was launched in June 2018 in Qatar, run by Ooredoo. The ...

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