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Bhutan Telecom launches 5G internet services

MoIC minister Karma Donnen Wangdi graced the event

KARMA CHIMI | Thimphu

In its quest to provide the most reliable and innovative services to customers, Bhutan Telecom Limited (BTL) launched the 5G networks for Thimphu, Paro, and Phuentsholing cities on 27 December 2021.

The 5G network will play a vital role in realizing the goal of Digital Drukyul and will be maintained at the pace of technological progress and advancement.

This service is accessible in 24 sites in core areas of these three thromdes while works are underway for additional ten sites in Thimphu. Following this, the service will be extended to the rest of the dzongkhags.

In addition, the 5G network is expected to create new opportunities to stimulate economic development.

Launching the event, information and communications minister Karma Donnen Wangdi highlighted that the 5G infrastructure is expected to become the nervous system of the digital society and digital economy of Bhutan. “The industry has a major role to play in 5G as it can enable competitiveness and innovation in all the other sectors,” he said.

Lyonpo added that many of the ministries and departments had moved their services online through the development of apps such as gateway management systems, health facility management systems, Druk Trace system, essential good stock price system, and vegetable marketing information system, among others.

5G technology has become necessary to meet the increasing demand for high-speed mobile data connectivity and also to support the government’s various technological transformations with a lot more emphasis on e-governance to ensure efficient and effective delivery of public services

Besides network coverage rollout, Bhutan Telecom says, it will ensure network quality, technology leadership, and service innovation so that they can succeed in the 5G consumer market. It will also continue to enhance the 4G network coverage in all the gewogs and chiwogs to meet the current data requirements in the country.

Bhutan Telecom’s General-manager for corporate planning and strategic division, Jichen Thinley said, data charges for both 5G and 4G networks will be the same. “The data consumption from 5G will be higher because it provides higher quality with higher speed.”

“Since there is a limited handset which supports 5G in the market, it will be difficult to harness the full potential of the service right now,” a telecom official said, adding that they have plans to bring in other 5G compatible handsets and affordable ones at the same time.

However, the challenges of getting approval for land from thromdes and towns remain even with its plans of installing mono-pole stations in the place of tower installation.