Saturday, September 26, 2020

Botswana plays catch up on mobile internet

This month, atleast four U.S. cities got their first taste of the next generation of wireless internet otherwise known as 5G. The same cannot be said about African cities let alone Gaborone. 5G is the fifth generation of cellular mobile communications which is succeeding the 4G, 3G and 2G systems. The new network performance targets include high data rate, reduced latency, energy saving, cost reduction, higher system capacity and massive device connectivity.

It is anticipated that the first phase of 5G specifications in release-15 will be completed by March 2019, to accommodate early commercial deployment. The second phase in release-16 will be completed by March 2020, for submission to the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) as a candidate IMT-2020 technology.

In Botswana, all mobile operators are still rolling out the 4th generation. Botswana Telecommunication Corporation Managing Director – Anthony Masunga says his company will continue to evaluate the option for 5G.

“5G is not cheap. We will look at the business case whether it is for Botswana and if it will add value to the existing one,” Masunga said.

He added that BTCL will continue to deploy the 4G network to deliver high mobile broadband servicing and will only consider upgrading to 5G at a where the new network could give the company a significant advantage in terms of user experience.

He argued customers to focus on experience rather than technology.

Masunga revealed that the BSE quoted telecommunications outfit spends between P200million-to-P300million in its network upgrading annually.

“Upgrading can be done in three areas; they can be demand driven, or done when the system has aged and when moving to another technology, which the BTC is currently doing as it upgrades to 4G network”, Masunga said.

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