15 February 2019

Liberia: Jamcell Eyes 'Pre 5G' Network for Liberia

Investing US$100 million; Begins Operations in 2021

The Liberia Telecommunications Authority has issued an Individual/Universal License to JamCell to operate a Public Telecommunications Network providing voice, video and data services throughout the nation.

According to an LTA press release, the network is partnering with Ericsson, a world leader in communications networking and technology. Their model will employ the Narrow Band Technology, an alternative to Long Term Evolution, LTE, to meet the growing demand of device connectivity, serve as a pre 5G platform for cellular services and anticipated smart city applications.

According to Digital Trends, 5G is the next generation of mobile broadband that will eventually replace, or at least augment, 4G LTE connection. With 5G, there will be exponentially faster download and upload speeds. Latency, or the time it takes devices to communicate with each other wireless networks, will also drastically decrease.

5G enables mission-critical technologies such as self-driving cars, tele-medicine and remote surgery, as well as Massive Machine-Type Communications (mMTC), which allows hospitals and insurance companies to remotely track their patients and subscribers, respectively. Such technologies require extremely low latency in the internet connection in order to have the level of precision required to avoid accidents and life-altering mistakes.

Although the "pre-5G" platform envisioned by JamCell might simply tantalize customers regarding the fancy technology described supra, the narrowband will bring to the table long range, low power and reliable communications. Narrowband occupies less bandwidth (as opposed to broadband), and produces a higher transmit power is higher than broadband.

LTA Board of Commissioners and JamCell representatives signed the license on February 8, 2019.

The release, signed by LTA Director of Public Affairs Jarsea Burphy, said JamCell will invest approximately US$100 million during the license tenure which will include infrastructural development, licensing and spectrum fees. JamCell will train and employ Liberians. Operations will begin in 2021.

The release said JamCell's entry into the telecommunications market will bring to three the number of cellular mobile Network Providers in the country.

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