BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN — Brunei has set its sights on launching 5G services by mid-2022, promising faster mobile connection and minimal delay in processing a large amount of data once it is available, a member of the National 5G Task Force said.

Norshahrul Nizam Othman said through their meetings with network infrastructure provider Unified National Networks (UNN), they foresee 5G networks to be ready for public adoption by middle of next year.

During the Brunei Darussalam 5G Seminar on Thursday, Minister of Transport and Infocommunications YB Dato Seri Setia Abdul Mutalib POKSS DP Hj Mohammad Yusof said several strategic locations have been identified to test the potential of 5G in indoor and outdoor settings.

These sites will implement 5G frequencies in phases starting from April 2021, but will not be accessible to the public.

The list of sites are still under discussion but will include UNN facilities as well as the Design & Technology Building in Kg Anggerek Desa.

MTIC minister YB Dato Abdul Mutalib speaks at the ‘Brunei Darussalam 5G Seminar: 5G Enabling Digital Transformation’ on Jan 28. Photo: Rasidah Hj Abu Bakar

Plans to set up 5G Innovation Lab at UTB

Norshahrul Nizam, who is also the assistant chief executive at the Resource Management Unit of Authority for Info-communications Technology Industry (AITI), said some radio frequencies used for 4G will be freed up for 5G closer to the launch date.

The spectrum — frequencies used to deliver wireless data — is available for both high performance 4G and 5G mobile broadband, he told reporters on the sidelines of the 5G seminar.

There are also plans to set up a 5G Innovation Lab at Universiti Teknologi Brunei (UTB).

“With 5G coverage at the Innovation Lab, the plan is to create 5G applications but we are still in the process of doing this, the assistant CEO said.

Norshahrul is a member of the National 5G Task Force responsible for identifying regulatory enablers and spectrum-related regulations to facilitate deployment of 5G technology.

The task force was formed in May last year and is expected to come up with policy and regulatory recommendations, as well as initiatives to generate sustainable demand of 5G.

Chaired by AITI acting chief executive Hj Jailani Hj Buntar, the task force looks at three main areas: 1) policy, regulatory and spectrum; 2) use cases, application development and infrastructure and 3) education and awareness.

“The task force will look into upskilling workforce to address the adoption of 5G applications, network deployment, technologies and digital entrepreneurship,” said Hj Jailani.

“We want all sectors, government, industries, academics to join hands and support the 5G ecosystem rollout as well as cultivate awareness for business and consumers on 5G opportunities,” he added.