5G may not be here yet as an end-user offering in most countries, but trials and announcements in South America and the Middle East indicate that it may not be too far off.
In Peru, mobile operator Bitel celebrated its fifth birthday with a 5G mobile trial. The Vietnamese-owned operator says it achieved downlink transmission speeds of 1.5Gbps using 5G infrastructure. Upload speeds reached 78.7Mbps. It joins Claro, Movistar and Entel, which have all tested or trialled 5G technology this year.
The UAE’s Etisalat, meanwhile, has completed what it called the first standalone 5G call in the MENA region. The test call was carried out using 100MHz of spectrum in the 3.5GHz band. Using a standalone smartphone, download throughput of over 1.5Gbps was said to have been achieved, with an upload speed of 200Mbps.
Etisalat’s 3.5GHz 5G network in the UAE launched in September 2018, in FWA form. It began offering true mobile 5G services in May this year.
Elsewhere in the same region, Oman’s Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) has announced that local operators Omantel and Ooredoo have been granted rights to use a 100MHz block of 5G spectrum to introduce a range of services in the coming years.
The TRA expects the operators to build some 4,400 base stations in the next five years and, says an official statement, that “they will conduct workshops to inform relevant government agencies of the applications in preparation for their readiness to use it”. These initiatives are part of the country’s 5G roadmap, which is itself part of the country’s Vision 2040 strategy plan.