Nokia is keen on collaborating with the Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunication to develop a road map for the 5G ecosystem in Pakistan.This was revealed by senior officials at the Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunication (MoITT), which has formally launched the consultation for the launch of fifth-generation mobile technology (5G) services in Pakistan.

The Ministry has evaluated seven bands for the adoption of 5G services in the country and is assessing the available options for their timely launch. The following are being evaluated as low bands, mid bands, and high bands:

700 MHz
2.3 GHz
2.6 GHz
3.5 GHz
MiIIi8meter wavebands
C-Band (3.6-4.2) GHz
Unlicensed Backhaul Frequency bands (P2P & P2MP)
The ministry has requested the Frequency Allocation Board to share the current status and availability of all the 5G spectrums in these frequency bands.

The government is planning to launch 5G services in the country by December 2022, which will open new avenues for investments and will accelerate the achievement of the goal of a ‘Digital Pakistan’, a MoITT official revealed. Official sources also disclosed that the federal Minister for IT & Telecom, Syed Amin Ul Haque, wanted to launch the 5G services by December 2022, and the early launch of 5G services has been prioritized.

An important meeting with 5G vendors chaired by Member Telecom Muhammad Umar Malik was convened at the MoITT to discuss its progression. The meeting was attended online by representatives from Huawei, Ericsson, and Nokia from their regional headquarters. Officers from the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority and Frequency Allocation Board (FAB) were also in attendance.

The meeting entailed detailed technical discussions to assess vendor support and readiness for the launch of 5G services in Pakistan. Interoperable airwaves band with interoperable U.E and 5G Telecom equipment, including launch strategy considering business cases, were also considered to make the inclusion attractive and a win-win situation for the citizens, industry, and government.

Quoting Nokia representatives, sources said that the company is fully committed to sharing its global experiences of 5G technology setup, phased evolution, and use cases from other markets with the MoITT. The progress of this collaboration to develop a road map for a 5G ecosystem will help accelerate the initiative for a Digital Pakistan, sources added.

Minister Haque said that a strategic plan and roadmap for 5G technology in Pakistan is being formulated while considering the aspects of spectrum management, infrastructure development, and the review of telecom regulations and 5G applications/use cases.

The MoITT has constituted an advisory committee for 5G Planning in Pakistan, called the 5G Pakistan Plan Committee, to define a roadmap and finalize recommendations for 5G technology readiness in the country. The committee will develop strategic plans and a roadmap for 5G technology in Pakistan with the formulation of working groups for 5G spectrum management, telecom infrastructure development, and telecom regulations reviews, including health and safety, 5G applications, and use cases.

The committee comprises members from the MoITT, the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA), the FAB, the Prime Minister’s (PM) Office SRIU (Strategic Reforms Implementation Unit), the PM Taskforce on IT & Telecommunication, academia, cellular mobile operators, and telecommunication vendors.

Last year, the PTA allowed mobile operators to conduct tests and trials of 5G technology in a limited environment and on a non-commercial basis. It had issued the ‘Framework for Test and Development of Future Technologies (Particularly Fifth Generation (5G) Wireless Networks in Pakistan)’ to facilitate the testing/trial of only 5G technology and its related services in Pakistan.

The rapid growth in mobile data traffic and consumers’ demands for enhanced mobile broadband experience have led to an increasing emphasis on the upcoming 5G. Seen as a comprehensive wireless-access solution with the capacity to address the demands and requirements of mobile communication for IMT-2020 and beyond, this technology is expected to operate in a highly heterogeneous environment and provide ubiquitous connectivity for a wide range of devices, new applications, and use cases, the PTA explained.

The scope of IMT-2020 is much broader than the previous generations of mobile broadband communication systems. The ITU’s work in developing the specifications for IMT-2020 in close collaboration with the whole gamut of 5G stakeholders is now well underway along with the associated spectrum management and spectrum identification aspects. The IMT-2020 will be a cornerstone for all of the activities related to attaining the goals in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.