Sun,10 September 2023
Since the launch of first-generation mobile service, which was mainly capable of transmitting voice calls, mobile network has seen an exceptional growth unwrapping endless possibilities. The current 4th generation (4G) of mobile network used in Nepal is for handling fast data speed required for multimedia streaming, high quality video conference/ meeting, seamless web browsing, lag free online gaming while providing basic services but with better voice calls and faster messaging service. However, with changing customer needs, there is a need for an upgrade in mobile network that can provide faster data speed at a low latency and more throughput to handle higher bandwidth traffic without causing disturbances which can be achieved with Fifth Generation (5G) mobile services.
5G is designed to improve network connections by addressing the legacy issues with speed, latency and utility. 5G can theoretically deliver data speed at a rate 100 times faster than 4G network. Importantly, it is designed to transmit data almost instantly with a network latency of less than 10 milliseconds i.e., close to zero second. It will also have an enhanced throughput to handle more simultaneous connections in a timeframe than current 4G networks. 5G will allow users to download huge files in a matter of few seconds and will be more reliable, allowing improved data transmission even in extreme conditions. Additionally, 5G will be more ﬂexible than standard Wi-Fi network, with an ability to support a wider range of sensors, devices, and wearables.
There are no doubts that 5G will certainly change the way we live and do business. The 5G mobile broadband technology is set to change how people and machines communicate and even business model for industries. Upgrades oﬀered by the 5G networks will provide businesses access to blazing fast data transfer and improved network reliability. Now a day, mobile applications, devices, and the cloud services are sending and receiving a constant stream of real-time data. This technology will provide the opportunity to communicate in real time with remote clients, consumers, partners, contractors etc. So all businesses have to be technologically prepared for 5G market growth and plan their strategy for same.
Why 5G network in Nepal?
Most Internet Service Provider (ISPs) companies in Nepal are already competing to have the fastest and largest 5G networks. The 5G networks are believed to transform the way technologies are being used, making them faster and more efficient. They will enable the new technologies to perform better and faster not only for consumers but also for businesses, industries and even for government entities.
Nepal, as a mountainous country has much to gain from 5G not only due to the high speed data transfers it provides but also from the way the technology will impact Agriculture, Education, Healthcare, Transportation, Entertainment sectors and other services.
Out of 29.4 million population of Nepal, about 20.8% lives in urban areas, while about 79.2% lives in rural areas. There were 10.78 million internet users in Nepal in January 2021. Internet penetration in Nepal stood at 36.7% in January 2021. There were about 13 million social media users in Nepal in February 2021. (Ref: 5 & 6)
The above mentioned data shows that Nepal has potential market for use of internet for multimedia services. 3G/4G have reached almost all parts of the country but people are using mostly for social media only due to unavailability of information, education and Contents (for Education, Agriculture, Medicine, e-Governance, Entertainment sector etc.) are not available as required. Mostly, people of age group of 18 years to 60 years are the user who needs high speed internet, low latency and seamless download of huge files which shows the need of 5G business.
Now a day, this COVID-19 pandemic has made the people more dependent on the internet. As the demand increases, the quality of the facility should also be increased. Thus people demand more content and want more speed to download them. Government & non- government organizations are practicing online work from home, virtual meeting (e.g. Zoom, Google Meet etc.) and don’t want any delay in video response which shows the need of very high speed internet connectivity all over country and 5G can fulfill such need.
Looking at the use of broadband internet situation in our country, we may need 5G connectivity. But also may not need 5G at the moment because 4G service is provided and many people won’t take benefit of it as required and some are unaware too. It’s matter of debate. Though, Nepal Telecom (NT) has already started to test 5G service recently, hence NT should focus to plan for 5G business & customer awareness program regarding usefulness of 5G services especially for rural areas.
The government has to formulate the directive to regulate the social media, video content, online games, Cyber security and Privacy issues for the user at earliest. Industry experts say, Nepal is a small market for global social media companies and it is unlikely that they will register themselves with the government and it has to consider. The government has to facilitate collaboration among multi stakeholders, including a range of government entities, telecom operators, handset suppliers, business houses, Education sector, Medical sector, civil society etc.
5G business is a revolutionary business with endless possibilities in coming days. Smart-factory and smart-city applications, autonomous vehicles and machines and telemedicine, robotic surgery applications are just a few of the examples where 5G technology is expected to impact and create business. 5G is aimed at variety of new-age connected services in the massive area among which main sectors are mentioned as follows:
1. Industry sector:
5G will greatly impact the way Industry manufacturers or Smart factories produce and distribute goods. In developed country, companies are using 5G networks through diﬀerent sensors for innovative technologies like process automation, remote monitoring and collaborative robots. In our country, we can use some of 5G application which can help to automate various industries and remotely control various equipment which will save time & and cost.
We can change some functions of Industry to Automatic such as Environmental control (Temperature, Humidity, Oxygen level etc.) and Inventory control by using some sensors. We can use some sensors which will monitor the quantity, type and consumption pattern of industry’s product on-time. We can have several technical information of industry with the help of sensors in real time that saves cost.
b) Robots: Many Robots can be used in several industries e.g. IT industries use Robot to manufacture diﬀerent types of Printed Circuit Boards (PCBs). In Japan, Robots are used in Tourism industry. Robots are used in Quality control in industrial products. It can be used in medical sector. We can use Robots in steel industry, Brewery Factory, Pharmaceutical Industry etc. in small scale.
c) Hazardous Environment: 5G will help to minimize risk in hazardous work environments, it will also allow technicians with specialized skills to control machinery from anywhere. We can use some Robot which is controlled On-line in Steel Industry where high temperature generated and human cannot face it. The Bomb Squad utilizes specialized equipment to approach, inspect, disarm and/or remove all types of explosive devices remotely using internet.
2. Smart City:
To enable the smart cities in our country in near future, a huge number of sensors and other wireless devices need to be connected to the software and systems that will store, process and analyze the data, and then use this information to run and manage citywide services.
a) Infrastructure Monitoring & Management: We can do On-line monitoring, metering of Utilities such as Electricity, Water etc. Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) can plan, manage the load (Electric) control, Consumption pattern, customer’s behavior etc. Similarly, Nepal Water Supply Corporation (NWSC) can analyses in the same way.
b) On-line Services: People of smart city can access diﬀerent functions of government at real time without physical presence. It will save the country’s expense too. 5G will help students continue their education outside the classroom. Regardless of distance or location, 5G empowers residents to access the information and their need which will make government and business so ease to address citizen’s need and trade efficiently. The meaning of Smart City will be materialized eﬀectively using On-line services.
c) Internet of Things (IoTs) Use: The 5G service will cause explosive growth of IoT devices in the market. The IoTs are smartwatches, smart fire alarms, smart door locks, smart bicycles, medical sensors, Google Home, Alexa, Amazon Echo, fitness trackers, smart security system etc. can be used in smart city.
d) Autonomous (Self-driving) vehicles: Though it’s very difficult in our country in present status of road and traffic management but if we plan for smart city, we should prepare for such road, traffic signals, ﬂyover, road crossing etc. to cope with Autonomous car, trucks, buses etc. As we know that for self-driving car, real- time autonomous decisions need to be taken within a fraction of seconds and to receive information at high speed and take prompt actions that can avoid them from hitting obstacles on the way by using 5G applications so telecom operators have to assure the seamless coverage of 5G.
3. Augmented Reality/Virtual Reality (AR/VR):
Many telecom experts believe that 5G is implemented and by using Augmented Reality/Virtual Reality (AR/VR), it will cause a paradigm shift in mobile market. Augmented reality (AR) adds digital elements to a live-view often by using the camera on a smartphone. Examples of augmented reality experiences include Snapchat lenses and the game Pokémon Go etc. Virtual reality (VR) implies a complete involvement experience without physically presence at that place.
5Gcould givetheconcept of new meaningto Augmented Reality/Virtual Reality (AR/VR) and making team/group meetings feel like everyone is in the same room. We can expect that once 5G comes into play, it will boost the popularity of AR/VR-powered products to such extent that they’ll become must for any business. In our country, e-medicine, e-education, e-business etc. will be benefitted by using AR/VR products.
4. Agriculture Sector:
a) Farming: The factors that are responsible for our agricultural backwardness are Traditional farming, Unscientific land distribution, Lack of proper farming information etc. which can be improved by using On-Line training, AR/VR based video clips & diﬀerent sensors to do farming in productive way. Farmers can learn at field about advance farming techniques using VR based applications.
b) Soil Sensors: By using soil sensors connected with 5G application, farmer will manage irrigation, fertilizers, crop selection, alert farmer when to harvest etc. on real time.
c) Self-driving tractors: We can drive tractors for farming remotely especially in summer/ rainy season will be very useful. For this, many things have to be manage in our land distribution.
5. Medical Sector:
5G promises to provide essential levels of connectivity to enable a new health ecosystem, one that can meet patient and provide information accurately, efficiently, conveniently, cost-eﬀectively and at substantial scale during Covid-19 pandemic as well as for normal days in mountainous country like us.
a) Telehealth: 5G opens entirely new horizons in our country for telehealth, the technology that allows patients to connect virtually with doctors and other healthcare providers, communicating via real-time video/ AR/VR Video. Telehealth allows chronically ill patients to obtain critical healthcare in rural area when they might have difficulty to travel from their homes to their doctors to receive care.
b) Patient Monitoring: With 5G-enabled wearable devices, healthcare providers can monitor patients remotely and gather real- time data for preventative care and other individually-tailored healthcare provisions. It will be useful in urban area too.
c) Precision treatment: Artificial Intelligent (AI) powered by high-bandwidth 5G, will help to analyse medical imaging and data faster to make diagnoses & point doctors where to look and provide a course of treatment tailored to patients, improving hospitals and patient care system precisely.
d) Data Transfer: A single patient can generate hundreds of gigabytes of data each day, from patient medical records to the large image files created by MRI, CT scans etc. It’s beneficial to doctors because they can get the results that they need quicker and it will be experienced as per speed quality of 5G.
e) Do-it-yourself: These innovations in healthcare will calibrate, gather and validate data from trusted sensors. The data can then be transmitted to a variety of medical and health care professionals for analysis and treatment.
f) Internet of Medical Things (IoMT): Such devices and sensors help doctors to provide a complete health picture for their patients, leading to a personalized health treatment program and people of rural area get benefitted.
g) Emergency Response (ER): In emergency, the paramedic staﬀ can check patient info inside the ambulance & send in real-time info to ER team so that patient can be saved.
6. Smart Energy management: Buildingscan be equippedwith smart meters for electricity and water, automatically
uploading usage data to utilities agencies
(NEA, NWSC) and removing the need for physical personnel to read each meter, saving labor costs. Real time data can also be automatically analyzed to dynamically adjust power generation and delivery, also the water storage and delivery based on the forecasted load.
7. Smart Education:
Smart education is an interactive, collaborative and visual model, designed to increase student engagement and enable teachers to adapt to students' skills, interests remotely.
Educators need a wireless network that can meet students where they are and provide a seamless learning experience. This is where 5G comes in. The future of education information will be closely related to the maturity and practical application of the cutting-edge technologies represented by AI, VR and Big data.
It’s crucial to realize that 5G deployment will be a gradual process. It will exist alongside and in conjunction with 4G, 3G & FTTH (Fiber to the Home) network.
Here are some issues NT has to address to implement 5G business:
• Check its existing Mobile Network systems on their readiness to transit to 5G including backhauling, bandwidth and coverage.
• Try to propose draft of Directives, Rule, Regulation, Policies etc. to Regulator (NTA) and related ministries about Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR), Video content use, online gaming, security and privacy issues.
• Create business relation with government entity and business houses about utilization of 5G e.g. Nepal Electricity Authority to collect the Electricity Energy meter reading in each houses/industries. Similarly, for Water Supply Departments, TAX/VAT department, Tourist department, 753 Local government levels, Transport Department, Hospitals, Schools, Hotels, Film Division etc.
NT has to do massive investments to upgrade and deploy new infrastructure, including macro cellular equipment, small cells, Video content management and fiber that will deliver the services promised to customer using 5G.
There is a forecast about impact of 5G from World Economic Forum (WEFORUM) for 2030 AD which is as follows:
Given that, by 2030, we forecast that two- thirds of the world’s workforces will depend on 5G connectivity, it is critical that we work towards closing the digital skills divide and promote an agenda which ensures digital inclusion, a point echoed in the report series. (Ref:7)
NT has to plan for 5G business mostly in metro/sub-metro cities, headquarter of seven Provinces and some rural areas in first phase which will include government entities as mentioned before at earliest.
5G mobile service provides a faster data speed at low latency and more throughput. The 5G mobile broadband technology is set to change the exchange and subsequent and utilization of data between human and machines. This will likely bring a generational leap in operation model of businesses in our country’s industrial sector. 5G business will be a revolutionary business with endless possibilities.
Nepal, being a mountainous country, has a lot to gain from 5G not only from the high-speed data transfer, but also the way this technology will potentially expedite digitalization of government entities, agriculture, education, healthcare, transportation, entertainment sector and other services, more so in rural areas. NT needs to self-reﬂect and strategize expansion of its internet coverage to every nook and corner of our country with economic yet quality data, with volume consumption to survive in this ever-growing yet fiercely competitive market. 5G will create a crucial communication link to connect millions of smart devices to Internet of Things (IoTs) to enhance the productivity and reduce business cost across industries and eﬀective governance for the whole country.
Following issues should be addressed for preparation of 5G business:
• Government needs to act like catalyst and release efficient directives, rules, policies etc. at earliest for utilization and subsequent growth of the potential of 5G services in various sector.
• For 5G business, NT should closely work with government for utilization of benefits of 5G service to every nook and corner of our country.
• For 5G implementation, NT needs to upgrade its base station sites on time with new requirements and must upgrade the backhaul links that connect each site to the core network to support 5G’s much greater speed and capacity.
• All industries & businesses have to be technologically prepared for this growth of 5G market.
• We may see an exponential growth in demand of smart devices (IoTs) and smart sensors with 5G service utilization which should be managed by NT itself to tap into 5G market and grow over time.
• Inrural area of our country, telemedicine and e-education will be a generational blessing for the society. Telemedicine refers to remote clinical services such as healthcare delivery, diagnosis, consultation, treatment wherein a healthcare professional utilizes 5G to deliver care to a patient at remote site. An eﬀective telemedicine visit between the patient and the doctor would best operate on 4K, if not 8K video streaming with low- latency and low jitter which can be provided by 5G in real time. Similarly, e-education will help students receive higher education via remote learning and learn smart skillset without need to travel and attend classes in-person.
• Customer education will be vital in utilization of 5G services which NT should consider in its marketing strategies.
• The disadvantage of this service is to have high initial investment in Spectrum- Licensing, Infrastructure, Equipment, Backhauling and Coverage throughout the country.
• The rollout of 5G technologies and the services will transform many industries.
Security and Privacy issues must be addressed and updated over time as more devices enter newer networks that comes with benefits and risks of its own.
Governments and 5G networks operators (e.g. NT) should push forward their deployment plans to fulfill the use of 5G technology country wide which will be benefit the people, government and NT as well. Without a coordinated, well-planned eﬀort among stakeholders, mere waiting for Telecom Operators to roll out their 5G networks will not reap the potential benefits that come with 5G service.
Enterprises must take proactive measures to ensure that once 5G networks are online, they be prepared to make the most out of the endless potential of this technology.
And from a practical point of view, rolling out 5G mobile service will finally be a realistic replacement for wired networks, which may allow NT to implement ultra-high speed Internet network potentially in every nook & corner of our country.
1. https://www.verizon.com/business/resources/ articles/how-to-prepare-for-5g/
2. https://bernardmarr.com/what-is-5g-technology- and-how-must-businesses-prepare-for-it/
3. https://indianexpress.com/article/explained/what- is-5g-and-how-prepared-is-india-to-adapt-to-this- tech-7150641/
4. https://www.turn-keytechnologies.com/blog/ article/how-to-prepare-for-5g/
5. https://datareportal.com/reports/digital-2021- nepal
6. https://napoleoncat.com/stats/facebook-users-in- nepal/2021/02/
7. https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2021/01/ davos-agenda-covid-19-5g-economy-environment/)
9. https://thehimalayantimes.com/science-and-tech/ nepal-telecommunication-authority-approves-trial- for-5g-service
10. https://www.nepalitelecom.com/2021/11/ntc- receives-approval-for-5g-testing-by-nta.html