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Smart Axiata launches 4.5G services in the Kingdom

A man speaks on a mobile phone in front of a Smart retail store in Phnom Penh.
A man speaks on a mobile phone in front of a Smart retail store in Phnom Penh. Pha Lina

Smart Axiata launches 4.5G services in the Kingdom

Mobile operator Smart Axiata became the first company to launch 4.5G services in the Cambodia yesterday, a move that will position the firm to supply faster download and upload speeds when more devices carry the latest technology.

The company’s CEO, Thomas Hundt, said 1,500 base stations have already been outfitted with 4.5G technology with the support of Chinese tech giant Huawei. He said while currently only three mobile handset models support the new technology, the infrastructure was being laid in preparation for the widespread adoption of 4.5G-capable devices.

“Smart has always tried to be the most progressive telco in Cambodia to ensure that our subscribers receive the best possible service,” he said, adding that the company continues to invest heavily in infrastructure.

Typically, 4.5G networks are capable of providing peak mobile internet speeds eight times faster than normal 4G LTE. According to Hundt, the 1,500 base stations are using the latest multiple-input and multiple-output technology and multicarrier aggregation, giving them a peak capacity to reach speeds of up to 600 megabits per second (mbps).

However, Hundt was quick to note that in reality, numerous variables such as how many users were on a single base station, what devices were being used and what activities they were performing makes speed relative.

“Rest assured that you will see significant improvements in our network in coming months,” he said.

Test simulations at the launch yesterday showed speeds for 4.5G reaching over 40 mbps for download and above 30 mbps for upload.

Li Xiongwei, CEO of Huawei Technologies (Cambodia), said 4.5G will act as a bridge for the eventual adoption of the 5G standard, while bringing significant improvements to Cambodia’s existing 4G networks by allowing them handle more data-intensive applications.

Minister of Posts and Telecommunications Tram Iv Tek said that while Smart and its competitor Cellcard were leading the market in terms of quality networks, he hoped competition would bring the lowest prices to the end consumer.

“In a free market, these two companies are allowed to compete and I encourage them to create the best prices for consumers and invest in the latest technology,” he said.

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