SUNBIZ

5G Here? Best Of Mobile World Congress

There are a lot of concern re ‘privacy is­sues’ and cyber security issues and the potential for cyber criminals to use your private data.
09 Mar 2019 13:52
5G Here? Best Of Mobile World Congress

There is no doubt that the Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2019 was a success.

Especially with 5G technology, collec­tion of foldable devices, spearheaded by the Galaxy Fold and the Huawei Mate X.

Amalgamated Telecom Holdings Limited (ATH) chairman Ajith Kodagoda attended the MWC 2019 in Barcelona in the past week.

ATH is now emerging as the region’s major mobile business.

Its interests extend beyond its Fiji hub to Cook Islands, Samoa, American Samoa and Vanuatu.

About 5G technologies

In an interview with SunBiz Mr Kodagoda said: “At MWC 2019, there was a strong feeling that 5G technologies were very close to com­mercialisation.

“This year, we witnessed the first roll outs of 5G networks and IoT (The internet of things) use cases.

“However, what has been most interesting to note is that the pace of innovation and devel­opment continues to gather momentum and is driving revolution and disruption in many fa­miliar industries, turning them on their heads.

“This is not only due to 5G but a confluence of technologies maturing concurrently…5G, IoT, Big Data, Cloud Computing, Network Func­tions Virtualisation, Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning to name a few.

“The business case for 5G needs to be finalised for a country like Fiji where the populations is quite small.

“Users will also need 5G enabled smart phones to enjoy the benefit of 5G experience.

“This will be a challenge for many users in Fiji. There are a lot of concern re ‘privacy is­sues’ and of course cyber security issues and the potential for cyber criminals to use your private data and also robotic benefits of IOT and even self drive autonomous vehicles.

“This technology in the wrong hands can be really dangerous to society.

“In theory driver less cars are good, but then again for a country like Fiji or even the greater Pacific there is much more that needs to be done before we move to self drive cars and robots etc.

Benefits

“The benefits of 5G as I see it is for education and medical related work.

“The speed and the reach will give access to re­mote areas which can use central resources or even specialised medical service from overseas without having to have a physical presence.

“Innovations in smart cars, smart cities and infrastructure are disrupting traditional me­dia, music, electronic payments.

“The increase in the offerings by OTT players like Viber, Whats App etc is a challenge for our companies as these service providers are not regulated in any way , they dont have to pay for licences or any other fees , but continue to oper­ate freely across boarders.

“And increasingly with more efficient soft­ware, they consume less and less data thus of­fering good value to the consumers but little or no value to us.”

5G network in Fiji

Mr Kodagoda said the current networks ATH operating companies are installing are 5G ready.

“This means that once the companies make the decision to implement 5G the upgrade pro­cess will be relatively easy.

“The timing of 5G is a user bandwidth de­mand decision.”

In terms of ATH’s position on using Huawei 5G, he said: “ATH does not have any specific views or position on using any specific ven­dor and the decisions are driven by suitability to meet customer needs and commercial fac­tors, however, of course, in each of our mar­kets, if there are certain regulatory compliance requirements, then our operating companies obviously have to comply.

“For the ATH group, what is important for us to get the best value for our shareholders and customers. Hence the international politics have little play.

“We will work with the best vendor irrespec­tive of the country of origin as long as the equipment is of high technical standards and at the right price and good after sales service and training.

He stated that in each of the markets they op­erate in, it is largely within the ambit of the regulatory authorities to implement the poli­cies of their governments.

“The ATH companies maintain dialogue with a view to working out how best to comply with any specific matters that may arise in the course of their businesses.”

Feedback: maraia.vula@fijisun.com.fj

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