K-P takes lead in IT sector with first-ever 5G trial

Experimental test in Peshawar comprises remote surgery concept, cloud gaming


Usman Hanif June 17, 2021
KPITB and PTCL signed an MoU for the promotion of K-P’s digital policy. PHOTO: PTCL

KARACHI:

The country took one step further towards expanding its internet horizon on Thursday with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) conducting the successful test of 5G technology for consumers at the Durshal Incubation Center in Peshawar.

The PTCL Group and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Information Technology Board (KPITB), under the umbrella of Department of Science and Information Technology, conducted the 5G trial in a limited environment on a non-commercial basis.

The demonstration included successful remote surgery concept, cloud gaming and an overview of anticipated 5G technology applications in Pakistan. Once the infrastructure and systems are operational, surgeons will be able to perform surgeries remotely in the far-flung areas.

Once operational, Pakistan would join a select group of nations benefiting from the latest internet tech. The first country to adopt 5G was South Korea way back in 2019. Other leading nations like Switzerland, Kuwait, Finland, Qatar, US, UK, China, Italy, Spain, Australia etc followed later.

There are a host of others, including India, who have started making remarkable progress with 5G or have already achieved 5G technology. Noman Ahmed Said, Chief Executive Office (CEO) Si Global said that there were several advantages in introducing 5G in Pakistan.

The advantages, he added, included increased bandwidth along with faster speed with the potential to integrate seamlessly with technology that supported it. “The 5G, the 5th generation mobile network, enables a new kind of network that is designed to connect virtually everyone and everything together, including machines, objects, and devices,” he told The Express Tribune.

K-P Senior Minister and Minister for IT, Science and Technology Atif Khan termed the 5G trial in Peshawar a “significant milestone in the history” of K-P. Speaking at the trial, he congratulated all the stakeholders on “making significant contribution to this latest technology demonstration”.

“This technology, once deployed, will enable provision of best medical and healthcare facilities to remote areas, provide international-level education opportunities to the underserved areas, and have a significant overall impact on the socio economic landscape of the country,” he added.

The main challenges facing the developing counties like Pakistan in implementing 5G is that “we have very recently implemented 4G for which the overall roll-out phase is still incomplete”, Said said. “There are also major technical challenges that we are likely to face while deploying 5G.”

According to Said, there were various security aspects of the 5G networks, which were an ongoing issue and added: “We are currently not technologically competent to handle the many security glitches of 5G networks.”

He said: “Additionally, there are infrastructural hurdles that will need to be completely reworked and will also involve heavy costs in doing so. Spectrum costs, costs of increased network density and dynamic spectrum sharing are also issues that are to be considered.”

Said said that introducing 5G would be a massive step in the formation of a Digital Pakistan in accordance with the vision of Prime Minister Imran Khan, adding that 5G would facilitate the move towards digital currency and cryptocurrency, putting the country at par with the rest of the world.

According to Si Global CEO, implementation of 5G could ultimately change the technological landscape of Pakistanm but stressed that several arrangements had to be made prior to its implementation.

IT analyst at Topline Umair Naseer also shared similar thoughts. “The trial in Peshawar will increase pace of internet in Pakistan, Naseer told The Express Tribune. He termed the trial in Peshawar “a step forward in the government efforts for a Digital Pakistan.

The experts expressed their joy that the IT sector was blossoming rapidly in Pakistan and the government and the people at large had started acknowledging the information technology as a source of revenue generation.

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