SLT-Mobitel planning to launch ‘pre-commercial’ 5G mid-year

SLT-Mobitel planning to launch ‘pre-commercial’ 5G mid-year

State-run Sri Lanka Telecom (SLT) is aiming to launch a “pre-commercial” 5G service using 3.5GHz spectrum by mid-2021.

The SLT Group’s CEO Lalith Seneviratne told local newspaper The Daily Mirror: “By the middle of this year, we will have pre-commercial application of 5G perhaps with few industrial vertical applications as well.”

The Telecommunications Regulatory Commission of Sri Lanka (TRCSL) has provided the operator with its 3.5GHz spectrum holding but it does not yet have the allocation required for a full commercial launch.

Seneviratne noted that while the regulator has not confirmed any details of the allocation process, SLT is hoping for a full commercial launch next year, saying: ‘The exact time of our 5G rollout will depend on the time when the telecom sector regulator issues the licence allocating spectrum. Once the licence is issued, we will invest. We will need around one year to develop the commercial application.”

On the matter of investment, TeleGeography notes that SLT-Mobitel is expecting to spend US$15 million on acquiring spectrum, and has ring-fenced US$100 million for its 5G deployment across the next few years.