Sri Lanka’s largest mobile network operator by subscribers, Dialog Axiata has launched what it says is South Asia’s first “fully standards based 5G” pilot service in collaboration with Huawei. Of course, that’s impossible because the IMT 2020 5G recommendations for ITU-R and ITU-T won’t be completed till the end of 2020 or later.
The successful demonstration used Huawei-based RAN and core network with the most current 5G non-standalone architecture (from 3GPP Release 15) to transmit data to a 5G smartphone. The mobile network operator claims it is South Asia’s first pilot mobile 5G service.
Dialog Axiata group chief executive Supun Weerasinghe said the trial marks another step towards the operator’s introduction of 5G in the region. The operator has to date upgraded over 20% of its base stations to support Massive MIMO technology, giving them 5G ready status.
“The success of South Asia’s first demonstration of a mobile 5G service is yet another milestone following our launch of a fully functional pre-commercial 5G network and builds on our significant investments into high speed broadband network infrastructure in Sri Lanka, Dialog will continue to deliver on its promise of delivering The Future.Today. by leveraging the unique capabilities of 5G technology, to spearhead the country’s transformation into a regional technology hub,” he said.
Dialog Axiata launched its pre-commercial 5G network at the end of last year, demonstrating South Asia’s first fully functional and “standards compliant 5G” transmission using commercial grade base stations. Unveiled at the end of December 2018, the cellco’s pre-commercial trial was fulfilled via a partnership with the industry watchdog the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission of Sri Lanka (TRCSL), which is making available 3.5GHz band spectrum to pilot 5G. In the trials, Dialog reportedly achieved data speeds of more than 2 Gbps in a live setting.
To date Dialog has since then upgraded over 20% of its expansive base station network to a “5G Ready Status” by deploying Massive MIMO (Multiple Input Multiple Output) technology. The same infrastructure will transmit 5G speeds upon the licensing of commercial 5G spectrum in Sri Lanka, enabling the delivery of nationwide 5G coverage.