4G technology by year end
Internet via fiber with speeds up to 100Mbps to follow
By Dilina Kulathunga
Sri Lanka will become the first South Asian country to have Fourth Generation (4G) telecom technology when three operators launch their upgraded services soon. This will be followed by the deployment of Fiber-to-the home (FTTH) technology which allows homes with broadband speeds up to 100Mbps via optical fiber by late next year.
A senior officer from Telecommunication Regulatory Commission of Sri Lanka (TRCSL) said that these developments were a part of their plans to acquire 4G and FTTH by the end of 2012. FTTH will provide high speed internet on fixed lines while 4G will give high speed internet access for mobile users.
“Since last year we have been seeing much enthusiasm from operators and some have even launched 4G pilot networks. The delay was because the regulator needed time for frequency allocations to operators and other practical regulatory procedures which were inevitable”, a Consultant to TRCSL on broadband technology, Sanath Siriwardena said. However he declined to name the operators.
The Nation reliably learns that ‘Mobitel’ will launch 4G by the end of this year while speculations were rife that the ‘Dialog’ would also deploy the technology. However it is not yet certain who could be the third player as all operators were tight lipped on the subject as each player wants to be the first to launch this technology with much fan fare before the other.
Meanwhile ‘Mobitel’ last week announced their partnership with ZTE China to upgrade its mobile network to 4G status where the Chinese company is expected to invest US $ 50 million. Unlike 3G which provides maximum speeds up to 42.5Mbps, 4G provides mobile ultra-broadband internet access for laptops and smart phones with speeds up to 100Mbps. This will facilitate a range of applications including amended mobile web access, IP telephony, gaming services, high-definition mobile TV, video conferencing, 3D, telemedicine, picture based information sharing, distance learning and faster file transferring while the package tariffs would not be significantly higher.
Meanwhile reaching further heights in terms of fixed internet arena, TRCSL is striving to deploy internet with speeds up to 100 Mbps to homes via optical fiber (FTTH) replacing current copper-based DSL by end of next year.
Currently Sri Lanka Telecom (SLT) and Dialog provide high speed internet access to businesses/buildings (FTTB) via optic fiber cables. “Now we are trying to expand this technology to homes too as the required infrastructure has already been laid by these cable operators. I see this as the future of broadband”, Siriwardena remarked. He said that Sri Lankan homes could feel this brand new experience before the end of 2013 as they are currently in negotiation with SLT for fiber sharing and pricing of the packages.
According to the Director General of TRCSL, Anusha Palpita, broadband connectivity via optical fiber will cover 100% of the market within the next four years. However it is learnt that despite several attempts TRCSL failed to get this high speed technology off the ground this year.