5G is the new fifth-generation cellular network technology, which is expected to provide speeds 100 times faster than 4G. It is primarily used for smartphones and other similar devices. 5G is also expected to support new applications like remote medical procedures and autonomous driving. Recently, two leading telecom operators, Lao Telecom and Unitel, are testing or planning to test 5G network technology prior to launch the operations in the near future.
Lao Telecom company announced on October 8 that it began testing its 5G system, becoming the first player in Laos to kick off. Mr Souphon Chanthavixay, the company’s Deputy General Director, said that “This test of 5G technology is a significant step for the company, as well as users, who are keen to upgrade and be on a par with international standards”.
Vietnam’s Viettel has also announced that it will test its 5G broadcast in Laos in the fourth quarter through its Laos subsidiary, Unitel. Viettel tested its 5G network in Cambodia and Myanmar in July and August, respectively, through its local subsidiaries.
The Lao government has beefed up its efforts to speed up the introduction of 5G technology, with a view that technology is an important tool to drive socio-economic development and integrate with regional and international standards.
Several of ASEAN countries, including Vietnam and Thailand, have begun unofficial provision of 5G services in big cities. Thailand, for example, expects the full commercial operation of 5G services to begin next year, while Vietnam also plans to launch such service commercially next year.
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