Internet newspaper ColomboPage reports that Sri Lankan mobile operator Mobitel has used the Techno 2018 exhibition, held 12-14 October 2018 at the BMICH, to demonstrate 5G technology. The cellco, which is wholly owned by Sri Lanka Telecom (SLT), showed the public its next generation mobile technology using 5G Massive MIMO (Multiple Input Multiple Output) utilising a 64×64 MIMO configuration and operating in the 3.5GHz band. The demo, it said, made use of ‘commercially available user devices and commercially available network equipment, dispelling doubts over its short-term viability, and thereby leading Sri Lanka’s progress ahead of many technology advanced nations worldwide.’ The trials also showcased voice-over-WiFi (VoWiFi), while it notes that it now hopes to become the first mobile operator in Sri Lanka to introduce 5G commercially, although it stopped short of providing a possible launch date.
Meanwhile, in a related 5G development, Mobitel rival Dialog Axiata has announced it is partnering Ericsson to create an innovation centre in the country to develop innovative IoT and ICT technologies and solutions. Going forward, the two firms will engage in collaborative research with local universities and global institutions on 5G technologies to design and develop prototypes and conduct verification testing. Developers, academics and ecosystem partners will also be able to test 5G capabilities on-site. The 5G innovation centre will be backed by investments of over USD2.89 million in connectivity, equipment and infrastructure, the two companies said.
Commenting on the plan, Dialog Axiata group CEO Supun Weerashinghe said: ‘5G sets a capable environment to help fast track IoT developments along with next generation video and robot/manufacturing automation. Advancing the transformational technology of 5G in Sri Lanka will enable exciting possibilities across education, health, agriculture and manufacturing and also harness entrepreneurship and provide a springboard for in-country talent.’