Ooredoo 5G will disappoint many — for the time being — after the company became the first operator to launch a commercial 5G network on the 3.5GHz spectrum band.
Ooredoo’s 5G Internet, which is now available from Pearl Qatar to Hamad International Airport, covering Lagoona, Katara Cultural Village, West Bay, the Corniche and Souq Waqif, is built on the latest network technology (5G NR) promising higher speeds, capacity, and better latency.
The 5G network from Ooredoo does not meet demands of many. The first question we asked: Can customers make voice calls? Ooredoo’s 5G development team says voice calls will not be available with initial releases.
This indicates that 5G in this phase of development will not negatively impact the 3G or 4G voice revenues of telecom operators.
Ooredoo’s 5G team said the download and upload speed will depend on the device and CPE capabilities. Initial CPEs will support up to 1.2 Gbps download and 100 Mbps upload. As a network, speeds can go up to 5Gbps.
Ooredoo will be announcing the 5G pricing plans for enterprise and retail customers as and when the devices are available.
Ooredoo is waiting for manufacturers to start producing mobile devices. These don’t exist yet anywhere in the world. “Once these devices are produced, we’ll be again first-in-the-world to make them available for immediate use, as our networks are well ahead with readiness,” said Ooredoo.
Ooredoo is already able to use the 5G network on specially adapted tech such as drones. This is an important use case.
The number of use cases for 5G is growing every day – from faster Internet to remote car driving, remote surgery, drones, VR/AR etc. A lot depends on the devices and applications which will be developed.
Globally, many telecom operators are making investment in the initial version of 5G network to bolster their Internet revenue though they are yet to test use cases. Analyst firm CCS Insight says the U.S. will have 100 million 5G connections in 2022.
Verizon, the leading telecom operator in the U.S., will be launching fixed access 5G services this year.
AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson said the company plans to reach 500 markets with 5G Evolution by the end of 2018.
Sprint chief strategy officer Kevin Crull said the mobile operator is planning to roll out its fast mobile 5G service nationwide using its 2.5 GHz spectrum.
Globally, the U.S., China, Japan and South Korea are expected to deploy 5G earlier than other parts of the world.
“The outlook for 5G is growing in its optimism and shortening its timeline toward network buildouts and commercial launches of service,” said Chris Pearson, president of 5GAmericas, a telecom industry association.
Enterprise equipment firm Cisco forecast there will be 25 million 5G-capable devices and connections by 2021.
There will be 84 million 5G capable devices by 2021, 11 million 5G connections in 2020, said Ovum. Ericsson forecast 1 billion 5G connections worldwide by 2023. But the wait for the real 5G will be 2-3 years way.