(Xinhua/Wang Xiao)

Full outdoor 5G network coverage available in June – CTM

Local telecom provider CTM has announced that first stage of its 5G core network construction has been completed in late April, with 40 per cent of its cell sites already installed.

CTM plans to achieve 5G outdoor full coverage by end of June with speed over 1Gbps with the first phase of the network development costing over MOP600 million (US$75.1 million) and making Macau the first city in Asia to have full 5G outdoor coverage

The telecommunications company has planned a MOP2 billion investment to optimize the network within five years.

According to Declan Leong, VP of Network Services, although the Covid-19 pandemic has impacted the company’s operations, its main shareholder, CITIC Telecom, has stepped up to assist in the progress of 5G network construction.

‘Network construction has been kicked off in early May, field tests for coverage and speed have been conducted at various districts. The tests revealed that the highest network speed exceeded 1 Gbps,’ Leong indicated ina company statement.

Standalone network will be completed during the second phase of the project next year, with technologies such as Network Slicing, ultra-low latency and massive connectivity will be introduced and launched next year.

Currently, nearly 7,000 customers have registered for a 5G service trial. 

The main obstacle for the 5G network development is its requirement for a higher number of stations covering the same areas when compared to 4G.

‘The shortage of land resources in Macau has created a huge challenge for operators to locate 5G cell sites. The challenge of 5G popularization is cost control relating to equipment, site rental, power consumption, spectrum fee, which will affect the cost of 5G and whether 5G can be popularized within a short period of time,’ the company added.

This has led CTM to propose to local authorities a review of the spectrum fee and allocation mechanism and to release the government-owned properties for the industry to have enough site location optimizing coverage and capacity.