According to media reports, a new 5G testbed developed by Huawei has been launched in Thailand. As part of the project, Huawei plans to establish a 5G lab in Chonburi, located to the southeast of Bangkok, which is part of the USD 45 billion Eastern Economic Corridor project. Nokia and Ericsson as well as Thai mobile operators have also established 5G labs at the site
The 5G testbed project will be Huawei’s first in South East Asia, and will be modeled after its 5G collaborations in other markets. Huawei has signed more than 30 commercial 5G contracts globally but it has not yet signed a 5G contract in Thailand. Huawei has set up a cloud data center worth US$22.5 million in the EEC.
In addition to the test bed, Huawei is in talks with Thai telecoms operators, such as Advanced Info Service Pcl and TRUE, to secure local partnerships ahead of a national rollout scheduled for December 2020. The National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) has set up a working panel on 5G development, aiming to facilitate commercial launch by 2020. It initially announced plans to launch its first auction for the 2,600 megahertz frequency in 2017, constituting the first phase of implementing 5G technology, followed up by auctions for the 850 and 1,800 megahertz spectrum, and then for 700 megahertz in 2020. However, the auction for the 2,600 megahertz spectrum, currently held by state-owned public broadcaster MCOT under a concession agreement that ends in 2022, has been delayed till 2019. However, NBTC is going ahead with plans to test 5G technology. In November 2018, Thailand’s two largest telecom operators, AIS and True Move, were granted approval by the NBTC to trial 5G on the 26GHz band from November 22 until December 15. Market leader AIS conducted the tests in partnership with Nokia.
There have been concerns raised over the possibility of the Chinese government using Huawei’s equipment for espionage. During 2018, Japan, Australia and New Zealand effectively banned Huawei from providing 5G technology, while the US. Congress passed a law that will largely ban Huawei from use by the American government and contractors. The US has been urging allies to not use Huawei technology in their 5G Infrastructure.
(Sources: CNBC; Channel Newsasia; Telecomasia)