Trials and proof-of-concept activities to showcase the potential of 5G technology in Brunei Darussalam will be implemented in phases, beginning April of this year, according to the Minister of Transport and Infocommunications on Thursday. 

This was revealed during the Brunei Darussalam 5G Seminar held at the Design and Technology building in Anggerek Desa which was organised by the Authority for Info-communications Technology Industry (AIT) in collaboration with the Brunei Darussalam 5G Taskforce. 

Illustration by The Bruneian

The seminar, carrying the theme “5G: Enabling Digital Transformation”, explored the reality of 5G and how 5G can pave the way towards digitalisation and innovative solutions. 

5G represents the fifth generation technology for mobile networks, touted to be much faster than previous generations of wireless technology as it provides greater capacity and is designed to connect virtually everyone and everything together including machines, objects and devices. 

The technology is intended to significantly reduce latency while the connectivity and capacity offered by 5G are opening up the potential for new innovative services.

The Minister of Transport and Infocommunications Yang Berhormat Dato Seri Setia Abdul Mutalib Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Setia Dato Paduka Haji Mohd Yusof delivers his speech during Brunei Darussalam 5G Seminar held at Design & Technology Building. Image: Fazizul Haqimie

Citing international findings on 5G technology during the seminar, Yang Berhormat Dato Seri Setia Abd Mutalib POKSSDP Hj Mohd Yusof noted how countries all over the world are “engaged in their respective own race” to maximise the benefits and potentials of 5G. 

Swedish multinational networking and telecommunications company Ericsson reported that 5G subscriptions are forecasted to reach 3.5 billion by 2026, and that 5G will account for 54 per cent of total mobile data. 

Deputy Minister of Energy cum AITI Chairman Yang Mulia Dato Seri Paduka Haji Matsatejo Sokiaw along with other invited guests during Brunei Darussalam 5G Seminar held at Design & Technology Building. Image: Fazizul Haqimie

Meanwhile, a report by AT Kearney suggested that for ASEAN, 5G can add up six to nine per cent to consumer revenues and 18 to 22 per cent of enterprise revenues by 2025. 

With this, 5G subscriptions in ASEAN are expected to exceed 200 million subscribers in 2025. 

Image: www.5g.bn

“These findings show a very promising outlook with fast, intelligent internet connectivity enabled by 5G,” said the minister.

“Brunei Darussalam is no exception in preparing the nation for 5G technology,” he continued, adding that several primary initiatives have been approved in addressing 5G adoption in the country. 

Image: www.5g.bn

One of the initiatives, he explained, are the pilot projects and Proof of Concept for 5G technology whereby several strategic locations have been identified to showcase the potentials of 5G in both indoor and outdoor settings. 

These projects, according to YB Dato Abd Mutalib will be implemented in phases starting from April 2021. 

Another initiative to realise the adoption of 5G technology in the sultanate, the minister noted, is the formation of the National 5G Taskforce in May 2020 that is chaired by the Acting Chief Executive of AITI along with members from various government agencies, academia and private sectors.

“The main objectives of the task force, among others, are to come up with policy and regulatory recommendations, as well as initiatives to generate sustainable demand, interests and awareness to 5G,” he explained. 

Image: www.5g.bn

The minister went on to say that the collaboration forged under the 5G Taskforce will also address the key components of the 5G ecosystem which according to the World Economic Forum consists of five key components. 

These components include spectrum, infrastructure, devices, services and impact, with security being an essential aspect of these components, added YB Dato Abd Mutalib. 

“With that, I certainly look forward to receiving the report and the recommendations from the Taskforce soon,” he continued. 

In his part, Acting Chief Executive of AITI cum Chairman of the 5G Taskforce Ir. Hj Jailani Hj Buntar during his panel entitled “Brunei Darussalam’s preparation through 5G Taskforce” outlined the work that has been done by the taskforce in ensuring the sultanate’s preparedness for 5G technology. 

This included the release of Consultation Paper on 5G Plan of Action in 2019, collecting feedback from the industry on their 5G prospectives as well as the establishment of the 5G Regulatory Sandbox last year. 

Acting Chief Executive of the Authority for Info-communications Technology Industry of Brunei Darussalam (AITI) Ir. Haji Jailani Haji Buntar delivers his welcoming remark during Brunei Darussalam 5G Seminar held at Design & Technology Building. Image: Fazizul Haqimie

The sandbox gives an opportunity for qualified companies to carry out trials on 5G technologies and its innovations, and under it, AITI is providing fee exemptions on its license, spectrum and importation fees. 

“This year, the taskforce needs to finalise the report and what are the policy recommendations that we would like to bring forward to the government in the implementation of 5G,” he continued. 

The chairman went on to touch on the three working groups that are working in tandem under the task force namely Working Group 1 (WG1) responsible for the identification of regulatory enablers including trial policy and spectrum-related regulations to facilitate deployment of 5G technology.

Working Group 2 (WG2) is responsible to understand and identify potential demands including use cases, business cases, planning and implementation, and respective solutions through local business development. 

Additionally,  WG2 also works in identifying physical requirements for site rollout including policies such as ‘right of way’.

Meanwhile, Working Group 3 (WG3) is responsible for creating awareness through showcases and forums and identifying skills development programmes.

“We want all sectors; the government, the industry (and) academia to join hands to support the roll-out of the 5G ecosystem (in the future) so it is not (just the responsibility) of the regulators or the government, but also the industry (in order) to make 5G a success,” he went on to say. 

The 5G Seminar brought together expert speakers from local and international organisations such as the Smart Nation Office under the MTIC, the Global System for Mobile Communications Association (GSMA), telecommunications regulator from ASEAN member states namely the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) and National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commissions of Thailand (NBTC) as well as Unified National Networks (UNN), StarHub Mobile and from industry players such as Ericcson and Samsung Electronics. 

Chief Executive Officer of Unified National Networks Sdn Bhd (UNN) Dr. Steffen Oehler demonstrating the 5G speed test during Brunei Darussalam 5G Seminar held at Design & Technology Building. Image: Fazizul Haqimie

A 5G speed test was also conducted during the seminar using the proof of concept network located with the D&T building. 

Also present during the seminar was Deputy Minister of Energy and Chairman of AITI, Dato Seri Paduka Hj Matsatejo Sokiaw. 

Some of the invited guests during Brunei Darussalam 5G Seminar held at Design & Technology Building. Image: Fazizul Haqimie

To know more about 5G and the National 5G Taskforce the public can visit their website at http://www.5g.bn

This article was first published on January 30, 2021 in our Weekly E-Paper issue 126

THE BRUNEIAN | BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

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