ASEAN countries follow China’s lead in 5G implementation

ASEAN countries follow China’s lead in 5G implementation
Next-generation wireless technology 5G has garnered much market attention lately as countries around the world announced plans to develop the technology. This phenomenon is even more apparent in Asia, with China, South Korea and Japan taking the lead in the field.
 
According to media sources, China is moving forward with its 5G smart highway, carried out by state-owned telecom giant China Mobile. The infrastructure is under construction in Wuhan, the capital of Hubei Province. Up to 31 5G base stations have been built in the city, and China Mobile plans to build another 2,000 in 2019. The highway aims to save human labor in toll stations, collect real-time traffic data, make traffic predictions utilizing AI and support autonomous vehicles.
 
South Korea-based SK Telecom also announced a similar smart roadway system earlier this year. More specifically, the C-ITS project in Seoul will supply drivers with data points collected via 5G network to realize the vehicle-to-everything vision on the road. As such, drivers will be equipped with more information to drive safely.
 
KT Corp., another telecom in South Korea, also introduced its new 5G services recently ahead of the official launch in March. In January, the company unveiled a 5G bus in downtown Seoul. Passengers were able to experience immersive VR and AR services. KT said it “plans to expand its nationwide 5G network to 24 major cities, key transport routes such as expressways, subways, high-speed railways, large universities and neighborhood shopping areas.”

Thailand and the Philippines continue to use Huawei’s products

Countries in Southeast Asia are not sitting on the sidelines with their 5G initiatives. This month Thailand also had some major development. The country has solicited help from foreign big names including Huawei and Nokia and plans to launch the next-generation network in 2020. If everything goes according to plan, Thailand will be one of the first countries in Southeast Asia to implement 5G.
 
China-based Huawei invested in US$5 million worth of equipment and facilities in a 5G test site in Thailand hoping that it will win larger contracts down the road. Thailand’s telecom TOT participated in the 5G venture and built communication towers. The test site which involved self-driving vehicles kick-started last week.
 
The Philippines showed confidence in Huawei too even though Western countries have indicated security concerns over using the company’s products. Philippine-based Globe Telecom is using Huawei’s equipment to roll out 5G services in the second quarter. Another Philippine telecom PLDT is reportedly teaming up with Huawei to support its 5G service.
 
In Vietnam, the nation’s largest telecom Viettel will launch 5G service in a 12-month test period. Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City will be the first two cities where 5G network is tested. No charges will be levied during the test period which ends on Jan. 21, 2020. Viettel will not be the only player in the market. The Vietnam Post and Telecommunications Group is also planning to test 5G within three years. It has signed a co-operation agreement with Nokia to test and research the wireless network.

Huawei said earlier this week that the company has confidence to be a big supplier of 5G equipment in Vietnam, according to Nikkei Asian Review. "We are confident of expanding in Vietnam," said Fine Fan, CEO of Huawei Vietnam. The company is reportedly in talks with its Vietnam partners on conducting 5G trials later this year. 

Huawei was a major supplier of 2G and 3G network equipment in Vietnam, but lost the edge when 4G was rolled out in the country.
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