ISLAMABAD: China Mobile Pakistan (CMPak), popularly known as Zong, carried out the first official test of its 5G network on Thursday.

The Secretary Infor­mat­ion Technology, Pakistan Telecom­munication Author­ity chairman, economic and commercial counsellor of Chinese Embassy along with the dignitaries tested Zong’s 5G network at the ceremony, a company press release said.

“Zong has become the first and only operator to officially test 5G services in the country,” it added.

The company’s competitors - Jazz and Telenor - have earlier released statements saying that they have also conducted in-house tests of their 5G equipment, but rollout for both companies has been hit by issues arising from their licence renewal.

Both those companies are in court in a dispute with the government over the price at which their licences will be renewed.

“Jazz has conducted multiple 5G trials,” said Aisha Sarwari, the company’s Dire­ctor Corporate Commu­nicat­ions. “We tested multiple times, indoors and outdoors.”

Likewise, Telenor also claimed in a statement issued early in August that it has “geared up” for launch of 5G as well. “We have all the required equipment ready for 5G launching, it has been tested and now we await spectrum,” a company statement given to Dawn stated.

Zong first company to ‘officially’ test this technology

Following those steps, the statement continued, the company is “one step closer to successful launch of end-to-end 5G trials” in the country.

“We look forward to continued government support as a digitalisation partner for adequate spectrum allocation” for 5G over the next few years, the statement quoted Irfan Wahab Khan, CEO of Telenor as saying.

In the meantime, Zong has found the window to power ahead of its competitors. “[T]he pioneer of 4G services in Pakistan, it has already established itself as Pakistan’s largest network with more than 13 million 4G customers and 12,000 4G sites,” the company claimed.

Speaking on the occasion Secretary Information Technology and Telecom­munication Divi­sion Shoaib Ahmed Siddiqui congratulated Zong for becoming the first Pakistani telecommunications operator to have successfully conducted the 5G trial and putting the country on a short-list of countries which are 5G ready.

“Zong is an important part of the ties that bind the two countries together,” added Siddiqui.

“This success marks an important milestone in Pakistan’s telecom sector,” said Zong CEO Wang Hua.

He also announced that the company will establish a 5G innovation centre in collaboration with Huawei, for which a memorandum of understanding (MoU) was also signed at the event.

“It is expected that 5G will have an impact on healthcare, agriculture and education,” the company statement said.

Published in Dawn, August 23rd, 2019