Tajikistan’s Tcell, owned by the Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development (AKFED), switched on its first 5G base stations connected to its live mobile network in central Dushanbe on 6 August 2020, using the commercial 3500MHz spectrum licence it received in June 2019. Tcell CEO Ozodkhon Davlatshoev told Asia-Plus that the fledgling 5G network had achieved mobile data speeds close to 1Gbps, around ten times the peak speed of the operator’s existing 4G network, although he played down the initial commercial impact of the development, saying that ‘full commercialisation of the project will take at least three to five years’. The executive added: ‘We will create free test centres in the city so that people can test [5G] … There are already applications from our corporate clients who would like to use 5G right away. There are still restrictions on the consumer side … The technology is new, so the devices are expensive.’ On its website and social media, Tcell has launched a competition to win 5G smartphones with inclusive 5GB data, although it has not yet revealed plans for specific 5G-based user tariffs. Davlatshoev also noted that Tcell has recently ramped up investment in fibre infrastructure, which will support the future commercial development of 5G.
In February 2020 Tcell’s smaller rival MegaFon Tajikistan announced its first 5G mobile network section was live, enabling any customers with compatible devices to access 5G mobile broadband data speeds at no additional cost in one central zone of Dushanbe.