Partners claim ‘significant milestone’ ahead of commercial launch of 4.5G in 2016
HK Telecom and Huawei showed off the ‘world’s first’ 1Gbps 4.5G network in action at the Huawei Global Mobile Broadband Forum (MBBF) in Hong Kong, claiming the development is a “significant milestone” for commercialisation of the technology, which could happen next year.
The Chinese network equipment manufacturer first detailed its vision of an incremental upgrade to 4G earlier this year, and claims the additional capacity, faster speeds and low latency can support the Internet of Things, virtual reality applications and critical industrial processes.
It is claimed 4.5G will support 100,000 connections per cell – 100 times that of LTE – and offer latency of 10ms compared to 50ms. 4.5G is compatible with existing LTE and LTE-A deployments, allowing mobile operators to benefit from some of the advantages of 5G while protecting their 4G investments.
Speaking at MBBF, HKT Group Managing Director Alex Arena explained the highly developed, highly competitive telecoms market in Hong Kong, along with a “difficult” radio environment resulting from mountains and high density settlements meant the operator “get to things a bit earlier than other markets.”
Hong Kong has 220 percent mobile phone saturation and demand for data is going up while revenues are not, at least not at the same rate.
“We’re seeing saturation. We’ve seen it for some time,” he said. ““Costs are going up as data demand goes up at a time when traditional revenues from voice, texts and roaming are [decreasing].”
HKT says it has made some operational savings by purchasing rival CSL and consolidating network infrastructure, but it hopes network improvements like 4.5G will allow it to offer new services that boost revenues.
“Our business is beyond the socket these days,” said Arena, pointing out his firm’s ‘smart living’ rage of smart health, home automation and entertainment.
5G services are expected to launch commercially in 2020.
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