Telcel Launches First 5G Network in Mexico
By THÉRÈSE MARGOLIS
Telcel, Mexico’s largest wireless telecommunication service, became the first company in the country to launch the new, super-fast fifth generation (5G) network on Tuesday, Feb. 22.
A subsidiary of América Móvil, the massive telecommunications corporation owned by Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim, Telcel will now offer 5G to all its fixed plan clients who have contracts valued at at least 600 pesos a month, so long as they have a phone that is capable of receiving 5G service, a compatible SIM card a valid Telcel contract.
The new service, which is available across Mexico’s 18 largest cities and which is due to expand to 120 cities by the end of the year, according to Telcel sources, provides users faster transmission speeds, lower latency and increased remote execution.
Speaking at a press conference to announce the new platform, América Móvil president Carlos Slim Domit said Tuesday that more than 48 million customers will soon be able to access 5G service.
With transmissions speed of up to 1.6 gigabytes per second, 5G users can access files, programs and remote applications without having to wait for downloads and are less dependent on internal memory.
Moreover, 5G, which is about 20 times faster than its predecessor, 4G, allows users to perform remote actions in real time, thus enabling such activities as remote driverless transport and telemedicine surgical operations from across the globe.
Because 5G also increases the number of devises that can be connected at any given time, it likewise sets the stage for future smart cities and autonomous vehicles.
For the moment, the 80 percent of Telcel users who have pre-paid plans are not eligible to receive 5G, but Slim Domit said that they will be able to upgrade to the service later this month by contacting the provider.
The company, which received Mexican government permission to launch the new platform on Feb. 9, has already set up 2,000 G5 radio transmission base stations across the country and is planning to invest more than $1.8 billion this year to expand to 5,000 stations, using state-of-the-art technology from suppliers Huawei and Ericsson.
Telcel director general Daniel Hajj pointed out that the company currently offers an array of smart phones capable of receiving 5G service at prices starting at about 13,000 pesos.
And while Telcel is working to promote its new 5G services across Mexico, Hajj said that the company will not discontinue its current 2G and 3G networks, used mostly by customers in remote areas.
Cell phones currently capable of receiving 5G service include later models of Samsung, Oppo, Honor, TCL, Motorola and Xiaomi. Apple phone are currently not compatible, but recent models should become so through a company update in the near future, according to Telcel sources.