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5G in Pakistan – A Reality?

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With the 5G roadmap etched by the government of Pakistan, the country is quickly progressing towards a future that holds 5G accessible to consumers in the next year or so. The advent of 5G would accelerate the download speed by at least 10 times in Pakistan which would significantly have an impact on the economic activity of the country.

The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) released a statement in their annual report for the year 2020 which stated that Pakistan is aiming to auction 5G services in the fiscal year 2023. The pandemic has proved to be a blessing in disguise for the digital infrastructure of Pakistan as it led to a massive surge in digitalization and improving the technological landscape of the country.

When asked at the CxO Global Summit whether we have the relevant infrastructure for 5G implementation, Igor Tasic | Founder & Venture Builder at Meta Ventures | Digital Leader at World Economic Forum,

“From an outside perspective, Pakistan is in a very good position geographically speaking in terms of the connection between the east and the west in the sense that China’s initiative and the importance of creating a common ground for expanding infrastructure and bringing outside investment like that from China”

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A test trial of 5G services has already been conducted for 5G services under a limited environment and on a non-commercial basis in 2019 and 2020. Moreover, Pakistan is the only country in South Asia to test for 5G services and to have a recorded download speed of more than one Gbps. The tested speed for the trial has been reported to be 10 times higher as compared to 100 megabits per second (Mbps) on the 4G internet.

Following the trial the Federal Minister for IT and Telecommunication, Aminul Haque stated that the government will launch 5G technology by the end of 2022. However, experts in the field differ in opinion as they say that 5G plans will at least take another 5-7 years till they can be successfully implemented. The Federal Minister also made a call through the 5G network to China and said that both the video and audio were up to the mark and claimed the overall call to be a “wonderful experience”.

According to the government operating telecommunication authority – PTA, they will be publishing a Spectrum Master Plan and a Spectrum Rolling Strategy which can enable operators to function more efficiently. The aim is to create an environment that will enable large and small businesses to explore the opportunities that will be created by 5G operations.

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