Sri Lanka Telecom (SLT) mobile unit Mobitel has activated its first 5G base station at a retail outlet in One Galle Face, offering users their first experience of the next generation of mobile technology. Claiming a first for the island, the cellco is welcoming ‘streamers, customers, gamers and digital nomads’ to try out 5G ahead of its planned rollout. The SLT-owned subsidiary invested more than USD100 million in its mobile internet systems in 2019, and is setting aside significant sums to continue the upgrade and modernisation of its networks on the entire island this year, and to prepare for the commercial launch of 5G – the timetable for which has not been disclosed.
As previously reported by CommsUpdate, in July 2019 Mobitel completed a demonstration of fifth-generation technology at the grand opening of the Ancient Technology Museum in Polonnaruwa, having earlier conducted a series of 5G trials using a commercially available 5G-equipped smartphone in June; those trials achieved data speeds in excess of 1.55Gbps. At the time it revealed plans to spend upwards of USD50 million in 2019 to deploy a 5G network and to further develop its existing infrastructure.