Celcom and Ericsson earlier today have showed what the future might have for connectivity in Malaysia through what they claimed as the first 5G trial in the country. Taking place at Menara Celcom, the live demonstration involved a speed test that resulted in download throughput of around 17 to 19 Gbps.
A quick chat with a group of Ericsson’s engineers at the media event revealed that the on-site test setup at Menara Celcom (shown below) can actually achieve more than 20 Gbps given the right environment. In terms of latency, the same setup apparently able to achieve as low as 3ms.
Meanwhile, both companies also pointed that this is also the first test in South East Asia that was done on 28GHz band. However, this doesn’t mean that 5G operations in Malaysia will be running on this band permanently though as the spectrum arrangement for 5G in Malaysia has not yet be determined by the government.
In fact, Todd Ashton, the President of Ericsson Malaysia and Sri Lanka has pointed out that one of the on-going research at University Teknologi Malaysia-Ericsson Innovation Center for 5G is indeed to find out the most optimum 5G spectrum band for Malaysia given the country’s tropical climate.
For Celcom, the objective of the 5G trial to show that the telco is constantly working at the forefront of technology together with the help of its industry partners including Ericsson. In terms of the bigger picture, Celcom also want to make sure that it is ready to serve 5G services to the masses once 5G devices appeared in the market and consumers themselves are ready to adopt the new technology.
While the quick demo might seem impressive, there is still no exact timeline on when consumers in Malaysia will be able to utilize 5G services. In general, 5G is still a work in progress on industry scale although Todd has pointed out that the general availability of 5G throughout the world is expected to take place from 2020 onwards while an early version of 5G could be deployed as early as 2018.