5G not yet ready for widespread public use in Latvia says telecoms boss

The new-generation 5G Internet network is not intended for general public use yet, but rather for the management of industrial and technological processes, according to Juris Binde, president of the mobile telecoms operator "Latvijas Mobilais telefons" (LMT), speaking in an interview on LTV and Latvian Radio July 19.

5G is one of the current technological headlines due to its lightning speed and capacity. LMT plans a grandiose official unveiling ceremony in Rīga and Liepāja for its first 5G capability July 19, even featuring President Egils Levits.

"The 5G network will enable the development of comprehensive Internet of Things solutions, provide the speed and power needed for artificial intelligence, and provide operational stability and security for remote operations by creating customized service parameters and solutions," LMT's advance publicity says. 

However, ordinary smartphone users will feel the consequences of 5G introduction only indirectly, as mass production of 5G devices has not yet begun and that various other pieces of equipment such as routers would also need to meet 5G standards, Binde said. 

5G routers are being developed by LMT in collaboration with the technology company MikroTik. They are primarily intended for industrial use. "This is a serious effort with global potential. This Latvian product could be exportable," said Binde.

"The announcement in many countries that they will provide seamless fifth-generation network coverage does not sound very credible to us," Binde said.

“Primarily, the residents of Latvia will be aware of the 5G network via base stations with much higher capacity in places where congestion is currently occurring. But it won't be seamless coverage,” Binde said.

Mobile operators LMT and Tele2 launched 5G mobile base stations in a few locations in Latvia in mid-July. A third operator, Bite, launched its first 5G station in test mode in June this year.

 

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