Digital Economy and Society Ministry to begin 5G trial

Digital Economy and Society Ministry to begin 5G trial

Latest testbed will run demos in Sri Racha

The Digital Economy and Society (DE) Ministry plans to begin the trial for the 5G testbed in the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) in January, a significant move in preparing for 5G adoption by 2020.

The 5G sites and lab will be at the science faculty, Kasetsart University Sriracha Campus, while the testbed will be throughout Sri Racha district.

DE Minister Pichet Durongkaveroj said the trial will focus at first on transport, healthcare and tourism.

"The location in the EEC will help create a proper ecosystem for new use cases in targeted industrial sectors in the EEC, especially Internet of Things (IoT), smart vehicles, deep-sea ports, high-speed rail and the third international airport project," Mr Pichet said.

The 5G trial will feature the recently announced alliance of private firms and state agencies, including Ericsson, Huawei Technologies, Qualcomm, Intel, Nokia, major telecom operators, the Thai Federation of ICT Technology Association, and the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC).

The NBTC was asked to provide spectrum ranges for the 5G testbed in the EEC, particularly 3,500MHz and 26-28GHz.

Representatives of the alliance are members of the working committee on the 5G testbed set up on Oct 31. The committee has 29 members and is chaired by the DE permanent secretary.

The 5G testbed in the EEC was approved by the National Digital Economy and Society Committee chaired by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha.

Mr Pichet said members of the alliance visited the 5G sites and Kasetsart lab last week, followed by a group of internet service providers last Saturday.

The DE Ministry is seeking potential 5G developers to cooperate in the 5G alliance's trial.

The 5G testbed's lab is just 1.5 kilometres from Thailand's first digital innovation park in Chon Buri province.

5G technology can provide data rates of up to 100 times faster than the current 4G, potentially transforming traditional agriculture, healthcare, manufacturing and automotive industries, as well as smart cities.

The government has said the investment cost of 5G adoption in the country will be 40% cheaper if done through the concept of infrastructure sharing.

The DE Ministry's project is in parallel with the NBTC's 5G test centre in Bangkok under a partnership with Chulalongkorn University.

The 5G testbed at the university will be open for mobile operators and telecom vendors to do trial runs demonstrating 5G capability to consumers and industries.

The NBTC also asked Japan's Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry for cooperation with Toyota to bring a demonstration smart vehicle to Bangkok in early 2019.

The 5G trial and demo will use the 26-28GHz range.

Meanwhile, two major mobile operators, Advanced Info Service and TrueMove H, have been running their own public 5G demonstrations.

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