Sri Lanka Telecom (SLT) mobile subsidiary Mobitel has completed a series of 5G trials using a commercially available 5G-equipped smartphone, achieving data speeds in excess of 1.55Gbps. The trial, which took place on 7 June and was verified by benchmarking firm Ookla, used Huawei network equipment at 3.6GHz, by dint of trial spectrum allocation from the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission of Sri Lanka (TRCSL).
As previously reported by CommsUpdate, in April this year Mobitel revealed it will spend upwards of USD50 million in 2019 to deploy a 5G network and to further develop its existing infrastructure. CEO Nalin Perera was quoted as saying that 5G trials were well underway, noting that towers equipped with the next generation of mobile technologies will provide data transfer speeds ten times higher than those afforded by its current 4G LTE network. In FY 2018 Mobitel’s CAPEX reached USD100 million he said, a significant portion of which went to converting 3G base stations to 4G. Indeed, up until end-2018 Mobitel’s total investment topped USD600 million over its 25-year history. ‘This process is continuing and Mobitel will soon be dropping our 3G network,’ he said, adding that despite heavy infrastructure investment and foreign exchange losses last year, the unit was able to post revenue in excess of LKR3.9 billion (USD22.3 million) in FY18. ‘This is a 10% year-on-year increase,’ he confirmed, noting that while voice revenue is dropping, ‘if you analyse our profits, almost 80% has been generated from voice. But this is declining.’