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Opinions & Interviews

19 Mar 2019

Belarus to complete 4G network in foreseeable future, move on to 5G

MINSK, 19 March (BelTA) – Belarus intends to complete the deployment of 4G networks in the near future and use them to start developing 5G technology. The statement was made by First Deputy Prime Minister of Belarus Alexander Turchin after the government conference held by the head of state on 19 March to discuss the development of the telecommunication market, BelTA has learned.

According to Alexander Turchin, at present 4G cellular communication services are available to roughly 75% of the country’s population. “Certainly, we don’t want to be self-complacent. We would like to expand the coverage. Because not only people living in Minsk and the oblast capitals should be able to enjoy the service but also people in all parts of the country,” the official said. “5G is the next significant step. Internet of Things. Today we looked at these matters as a complex: acceleration and completion of construction of the 4G network in our country and further development and construction of 5G networks on that basis.”

Asked to specify when exactly the relevant work may be completed, Alexander Turchin said: “We are not talking about years as far as 4G is concerned.”

Speaking about 5G, Alexander Turchin did not specify any time schedule either. “But we understand that an IT country needs a 5G network. Since time moves fast, things change, we set out to accomplish very ambitious tasks,” he said.

BelTA reported earlier that in mid-January 2019 the dedicated telecommunication infrastructure company beCloud announced an impressive expansion of the 4G network in Belarus. The number of LTE base stations will be increased considerably all over the country by the end of the year. The network’s capacity will be doubled. Up till now 4G technology has been using the 1,800 MHz frequency band while 2,600 MHz has been on standby. Now this radio band is used in the most heavily used locations in Minsk and all the oblast capitals as well as in Pinsk, Ostrovets, Baranovichi, Mozyr, and some other district capitals. BeCloud intends to increase the number of base stations operating in the 2,600 MHz radio band up to 500. The 4G audience is increasing rapidly. The volume of consumer traffic rises every day. In 2018 alone 4G subscribers generated four times as much traffic as in 2017 – 140,000 terabytes (TB).

BeCloud deployed the first few 5G test zones in Minsk in late 2018 using the 5G New Radio technology. The technology was tested in combination with the existing LTE network using the Non-Standalone (NSA) scenario. The test zones are supposed to try promising 5G areas. 5G technology will come in handy for industrial Internet access, unmanned transportation, video analysis, and a number of other applications. Apart from that, the fifth-generation network will provide the foundation for developing the industrial Internet of Things and the foundation for developing the infrastructure the Belarusian digital economy program needs.

5G technology is supposed to become the mainstream standard for data transmission. In addition to higher throughput it is supposed to enable much shorter delays in data transmission.

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