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Jamaica readies for proliferation of 5G services locally

BY DURRANT PATE
Observer business writer

Sunday, October 18, 2020

Jamaica is far advancing its regulatory and monitoring regime for the proliferation of fifth generation (5G) mobile technology services in Jamaica.

Already the regulator of mobile technology in Jamaica, the Spectrum Management Authority (SMA), is laying the groundwork for the onset of 5G services locally. 5G is expected to increase the performance of many current applications such as virtual reality, smart city and augmented reality applications.

It will also bring innovations to industries such as agriculture, manufacturing and logistics while beefing up Jamaica's e-health capabilities such as in the area of telemedicine and tele-surgery. The SMA is now researching and putting in place new monitoring tools available for 5G technologies given the need for additional monitoring tools and adjustment to its monitoring techniques.

In its 2019/2020 annual report, which was tabled in Parliament last week, the SMA outlined a number of initiatives and activities being put in place to prepare the country for the much-anticipated roll-out of 5G services.

AIR MARKING OF 5G SPECTRUM

These include the air marking of high frequency bands such as the 24.25 -27.5 GHz; 37 – 43.5 GHz; 47.2-48.2 GHz and 66 – 71 GHz for the implementation of 5G services. These frequency bands were agreed at coming out of the last World Radio Communication conference from October to November last year in Egypt.

SMA Managing Director Dr Maria Myers-Hamilton points out that these high frequency bands are currently not being used by any of Jamaica's mobile network operators. She highlighted the need for Jamaica to establish national committees to begin looking at the local spectrum needs for 5G and the practical ways in which spectrum may be of benefit to the Jamaican economy.

The SMA has acknowledged that there will be challenges with monitoring 5G in Jamaica, noting that it is already “exploring various options in overcoming the challenges with monitoring of the 5GHz band and frequencies above 6GHz.” Through its Band Planning Department, the SMA has begun preparing for the proliferation of 5G services in Jamaica.

To this end, the regulatory body opened up for its staff a number of training and development opportunities in new and emerging technologies such as 5G and Internet of Things (IoT). The Band Planning Department will be offering technical and regulatory support to ensure all 5G systems operating locally adhere to the relevant International Telecommunication Union's regulations.



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