Macau | Local 5G network testing, commercial use in H1 2020 – CTM

Macau (MNA) – Companhia de Telecomunicaçōes de Macau (CTM) announced this Thursday that it has started testing its 5G network and is confident it will launch it for commercial use in the first half of 2020.

“We believe China and South Korea will be the first countries to implement the commercial 5G network and we think Macau can do the same at the same time,” CTM Vice-President of Network Services, Declan Leong, said at a press conference held today.

The technology is provided by CTM’s supplier Chinese telecom group Huawei Technologies Co., Ltd. with testing having started in June and expected to finish in December of this year. 

CTM CEO Vandy Poon indicated that the company is in discussions with the Macau Government to obtain a 5G network licence with CTM hoping it can obtain this in 2019.

“The network will take some 13 months to develop […]. We recommend the Macau Government provide the licence next year otherwise 5G development will be delayed,” added Leong.

According to CTM the largest challenges for building 5G in Macau comprise mainly spectrum resources and cell sites deployment, with the high transmission rate and low latency of 5G networks demanding higher spectrum segments.

With CTM having more than 500 transmission stations for its 4G network in the city at the moment, the telecom operator indicated that the 5G network would require the deployment of more cell sites.

“We believe 5G could be 100 times faster than 4G […] Future cellphones will most likelly use 4G and 5G together,” Mr. Poon said.

The high concentration of high rise buildings in the city was also said to impact the speed of network connections, since multiple frequency bands are required to provide good indoor coverage and high capacity

Radiation concerns have also led to landlords sometimes asking for cell sites to be removed from buildings on an average of two times a month, according to Mr. Leong. 

Thus, CTM considers it most important to install new radio equipment and antennae, upgrade the transmission network, and upgrade core network bases in cloud architecture.

When asked in regard to the investment required to implement 5G, CTM’s CEO indicated that the network will have to be constantly upgrading and evolving and therefore the “investment would be considerable”, with investment at the moment being mainly for investigation and development.