Business & Economy

Chile inaugurates Latin America’s 1st 5G test zone

Santiago, Jan 19 (efe-epa).- Chile inaugurated Latin America’s first 5G test zone on Tuesday, a project launched in a commercial and residential area of Santiago that aims to show the impact this ultra-fast, next-generation wireless technology will have on cities.

The 5.5-square-kilometer (2.1-square-mile) area of this capital where the trial will take place is home to hospitals, schools, retail establishments, offices and homes.

“This 5G zone will allow citizens to experience a hyper-connected ecosystem, with smart transport and greater efficiency in travel times,” Transport and Telecommunications Minister Gloria Hutt said.

Santiago’s 5G zone is an open space where people with 5G-compatible smartphones whose carriers use 3.5 GHz spectrum will be able to access the technology while inside its boundaries, the minister said.

“While 5G technology will be transformational for the productive sectors, it will be even more so for people since it will allow them to access new telemedicine and distance learning services or live in smart cities that will improve their inhabitants’ quality of life,” the deputy telecommunications secretary, Pamela Gidi, added.

Chile launched a 5G spectrum auction last year, although after the five participating companies – Borealnet, Claro, Entel, Movistar and Wom – submitted identical bids a decision was made to assign the spectrum via a closed-envelope auction, Gidi said.

Chilean telecommunications regulator Subtel said the auction for spectrum in the 700 MHz band will take place on Feb. 8, while spectrum in the Advanced Wireless Services (AWS) and 3.5 GHz bands will occur on Feb. 11 and Feb. 16, respectively.

The adoption of 5G technology promises to be a big leap forward in terms of download speeds, with the United States’ second-largest wireless carrier, Verizon, delivering a 5G maximum download speed faster than 1.0 gigabits per second in 2019.

This technology also will offer ultra-low latency, virtually eliminating the time required for a packet of data to travel round-trip between two points.

However, the rollout of 5G networks has sparked debate in many countries due to serious concerns about cybersecurity and data management.

The Brookings Institution said in a report in 2019 that 5G is the “conversion to a mostly all-software network” in which future upgrades will be very similar to upgrades to users’ smartphones.

“Because of the cyber vulnerabilities of software, the … real 5G ‘race’ is to retool how we secure the most important network of the 21st century and the ecosystem of devices and applications that sprout from that network,” the Washington-based think tank said. EFE-EPA


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