Friday, May 24, 2024
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Brunei Town

Getting industry players 5G ready

James Kon

With the sole intention of getting all relevant parties ready for 5G when service is activated this year, Unified National Networks (UNN) held a 5G Handset Workshop for industry players early this month.

More than 60 participants comprising personnel from Authority for Info-Communications Technology Industry of Brunei Darussalam (AITI), Datastream Digital Sdn Bhd (DST), imagine Sdn Bhd, Progresif Sdn Bhd and handset vendors in Brunei attended the workshop at Radisson Hotel.

UNN CEO Dr Steffen Oehler conducted the workshop, detailing the company’s efforts towards modernising the network infrastructure to accommodate the dramatic increase of mobile data traffic in the next five years, according to UNN.

Current trends indicate that two-thirds of the world’s total population should be connected and online by this time next year, and mobile connectivity – which has accounted for more than half of the world’s connected time since the end of 2018 – is expected to increase.

Along with the 5G technology targetted to launch this year, Dr Steffen highlighted the need for the company to balance between the scalability of the infrastructure and the economic benefits for the company, country, and its population.

Participants in a group photo. PHOTO: UNN

Since its September 1, 2019 operations, UNN has rolled out a single radio access network (SRAN) to continuously expand the nationwide network outreach and bring about significantly higher speed for mobile services and additional connection points to improve connectivity in remote, geographically, and topically challenged areas in Brunei Darussalam. To date, 90 per cent of the country is covered for mobile services that are 5G-ready.

The modernisation efforts by UNN had paid off: The July 2022 Global Median Speed reports from Ookla revealed that Brunei is ranked number one in ASEAN and number 14 in the world, surpassing Singapore (ranked 18th) as top 20 countries with the fastest mobile Internet speeds.

While the nation’s infrastructure is 5G-ready, it is important that industry players are also ready, remarked Dr Steffen.

While there are many 5G devices available globally, it is crucial for the relevant handset vendors and telecommunications service providers (DST, imagine, Progresif) to be aware of the types of devices that are compatible with Brunei’s network. 5G handsets with 700MHz band n28, 1800MHz band n3 and 3.5MHz band n78 are most compatible, and handset vendors and telecommunications service providers may refer to reliable public sources such as GSM Arena to verify and confirm if the 5G device supports these frequencies and spectrum bands that are suitable for Brunei.

Dr Steffen emphasised the importance for participants to adopt the information relayed during the workshop so that they can ensure the devices acquired for Brunei market are compatible, not just with Brunei’s 5G network, but also 5G-ready networks in other countries within the ASEAN region.

Participants are also encouraged to share with their own colleagues, especially those with roles in managing customers, so that they can mitigate concerns with regards to 5G when the technology is launched this year.

UNN, jointly with the telecommunications service providers and supported by AITI, will be championing more 5G workshops for industry players in the coming months to prepare all for the upcoming 5G, and align them with Brunei Vision 2035 Smart Nation objectives.