5G is not only important because it has the potential to support millions of devices at ultrafast speeds, but also because it has the potential to transform the lives of people.

Nalin Perera, the former Chief Executive Officer of Mobitel (Pvt) Ltd., who was in the forefront of conceptualising and implementing the Pre-Paid concept in Sri Lanka, stated that the 5G future is already here and will soon become far more evenly distributed as consumers will soon start to purchase 5G smartphones and 5G coverage.

“With 5G on the horizon, the Telecommunication industry will play a pivotal role in empowering firms to reach more customers with fewer resources and less manpower, driving businesses all over the world to get connected. Technologies such as video conferencing, broadcasting and interactive television, instant messaging, email, distributed electronic collaboration, as well as a range of web and internet-based communications and data transmissions will allow businesses to be propelled ahead by taking big leaps in the digital space whilst driving them towards sustainable profit and business achievements.”

During Nalin’s tenure at Mobitel, he spearheaded the organisation to achieve the fastest 5G speeds for the first time in South Asia.

Speaking of Mobitel’s recognition for achieving the fastest 5G speeds for the first time in South Asia, Nalin said, “When it comes to bringing in new technology, especially in the Mobile industry, you have to be on the frontlines. During my tenure, Mobitel successfully conducted trials and reached the highest mobile 5G speeds for the first time in South Asia, exceeding speeds of 1.55Gbps using a commercial 5G mobile smartphone on the 7th of June, 2019. This was possible because of the strong team spirit and decisive thinking at the right time, which enabled us to put our hands on the latest technology. The Mobile 5G services were demonstrated using 3.6GHz trial spectrum allocation from the Telecommunication Regulatory Commission of Sri Lanka (TRCSL), which always encourages and strengthens the evolving ICT transformation in Sri Lanka.

Moving on to the most recent efforts he has led in order to bring 5G and next generation technologies to the public, Nalin added, “In 2019, while I was serving as the CEO, we embarked on a US$100 Million project to boost broadband, which will be a launch pad to introduce 5G in the future. Towards launching 5G, we were in the process of re-assessing Mobitel’s resources and capabilities to ensure that we offer cutting edge technology such as 5G to its consumers without any hassle.”

Speaking about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on businesses and the livelihoods of people, Nalid said, “The pandemic has undoubtedly impacted lives and livelihoods all around the globe and Sri Lanka, where the lockdown caused most economic activities to come to a standstill, is no exception. While work from home is something western countries may have been adept at doing, in Sri Lanka, it was a learning curve for most businesses to set up a work from home system almost overnight. Service-oriented industries, especially, had to make the most haste for customers to be able to reach them.  However, we will all have to learn to live with the new normal.

“The impact on businesses has indeed been immense; some businesses have folded up while others are struggling to stay afloat. Only some companies have been able to respond with agility to assure customers of their support and make their services available without missing a beat. Honestly, no organisation could have prepared a contingency plan for a crisis of this magnitude. It is an unprecedented situation that we face today.”