Ericsson demos 5G in Thailand as NBTC chief pledges more spectrum by 2020

bangkok 5G
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Ericsson performed what it says is the first live 5G end-to-end demonstration in Thailand as the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) pledged to release 380 MHz worth of new spectrum by 2020, although only a small portion of it is specifically for 5G.

At a three-day showcase event marking Ericsson’s 111 years in Thailand, the 5G live demonstration featured Ericsson’s 5G test bed and 5G-ready core, achieving a peak throughput of 5.7 Gbps and latency as low as 3ms – which, Ericsson pointed out in its press release, happens to be faster than the time it takes the human brain to process images from your eyes (citing neuroscience research from MIT).

Ericsson said the multi-Gbps speeds delivered by the technology in its 5G test bed can support not only growing mobile broadband and video demand on smartphones and other mobile devices, but also provide a viable and cost effective alternative to residential fiber connections,

Nadine Allen, head of Ericsson Thailand, also said 5G’s greater throughput and lower latency will bring more use cases to the IoT, allowing new applications for consumers like augmented reality, virtual reality, autonomous/AI-controlled cars; and industry applications like smart vehicles and transport infrastructure, remote healthcare, robotics and many more.

Ericsson also used the demo to publicly affirm its ongoing commitment in Thailand to support the Thai government’s vision of a “Digital Thailand”.

Takorn Tantasith, Secretary General of the NBTC, said in a statement: “We expect to have broadband connectivity everywhere in Thailand, both big cities and over 75,000 villages nationwide by 2018. Along with the fixed internet deployment, we plan to release more spectrum bandwidth of 380 MHz by 2020, which will add to the existing 420 MHz already allocated to the telecommunications industry. This will handle the rising demand for online services, IoT and innovative applications as the country transforms into a Digital Thailand.”

According to a report in the Bangkok Post, that 380 MHz worth of spectrum will include:

  • 180 MHz of downlink/uplink bandwidth on the 2600-MHz band by 2017
  • 90 MHz on the 1800-MHz band and 20 MHz on the 850-MHz band by March 2018
  • 90 MHz on the 700-MHz band by 2020.

Of those, only the 700-MHz spectrum band has been pegged as an official frequency band for 5G services – the rest are for 3G/4G services, although the GSMA does list “sub-1 GHz” and “1-6 GHz” as key frequency ranges for 5G. Takorn made no mention of millimeter-wave frequencies that are already deemed essential to 5G – particularly the 28-GHz band, which markets such as Japan, South Korea and the US have earmarked for 5G.

Takorn did point out that the total spectrum released in 2020 will exceed the 700 MHz worth of spectrum recommended by the ITU to support 5G services, the Bangkok Post reported.

Allen of Ericsson Thailand added: “According to Ericsson’s Digital Thailand report, Thai consumers are ahead of, or on par with, global peers when it comes to embracing ICT and they are ready for the Internet of Things. The 5G innovation demonstrated today is just one part of the whole technology experience.”

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