Melita trials ultra-fast 5G network in Malta

Thursday, October 22, 2020 by Melita

Melita trials ultra-fast 5G network in Malta

Melita has launched trials of a 5G mobile service as part of its commitment to embrace new opportunities and build Malta’s status as a forward-looking digital nation. 

In 2018 Melita joined forces with the Swedish multinational, Ericsson, to provide the most advanced and best performing mobile network in the Maltese Islands.

The network, which currently delivers Melita’s 4.5G services, is now being tested to confirm its ability to safely and effectively deliver 5G.

Melita chief executive Harald Roesch said: ‘At Melita, our aim is always to offer our customers the best possible network and service. We must, however, ensure that this is done safely. 

‘While there has been a lot of unfounded scaremongering about 5G, that does not mean we should not proceed with caution and ensure that emissions are well within the globally accepted levels set by the WHO-endorsed organisation, ICNIRP.” 

He added:  ‘To do this, we started by measuring the energy given out by radio waves from all telecom operators, TV broadcasters, etc. at 282 locations across Malta before switching on 5G.  These measurements, which were taken at street level close to antenna sites, revealed that current total emission levels across the country are currently extremely low. 

‘In fact, these are at less than one hundredth of what ICNIRP considers safe for the general public in all but one of the sites we tested. When we switched on 5G at our initial test site at Madliena, the increase in emissions was negligible, less than 0.1 per cent, meaning total emissions remain below one hundredth of the ICNIRP guideline levels. 

‘These initial findings also match the data gathered in similar tests carried out in Britain by Ofcom. As our 5G test proceeds, we will continue to take measurements and we will make the results public on our website.’

The 5G trial will run at the Melita Data Centre in Madliena and at a limited number of locations in Sliema, St Julian’s and Valletta, with the data publicly available at https://www.melita.com/mobile/5g-trial-results/

What is 5G?

5G is the next, or fifth, generation mobile network, coming after 1G, 2G, 3G and 4G. 

It represents a huge step up in the quality, capacity and flexibility of mobile wireless communications. 

5G has the potential to offer greater reliability, much faster download and upload speeds, greater capacity to ease congestion and accommodate more connected devices or sensors. 

It also brings lower latency allowing near instant response with no time lag. All of this can enhance people’s experience of technology and enable new ways of doing things.

The evolution of mobile broadband in Malta

The evolution of the ‘G’ system started in 1980 with the invention of the mobile phone which allowed for analogue data to be transmitted via phone calls.   

Digital came into play in the early 1990s with 2G and SMS and MMS capabilities were launched in Malta. 

Since then, the capabilities and carrying capacity of the mobile network has increased massively. 

More data can be transferred from one point to another via the mobile network quicker than ever. 5G is expected to be 100 times faster than the currently used 4G. 

Whilst the jump from 3G to 4G was most beneficial for mobile browsing and working, the step to 5G will be so fast they become almost real-time. That means mobile operations will be just as fast as office-based internet connections.

A look into the future

Potential future benefits for 5G in Malta include: 

  • A full length 8GB film will be downloaded in less than six seconds
  • Simultaneous translation of several languages in a conference call 
  • Faster, better cloud-based gaming, AR and VR multiplayer games
  • Tailored, interactive online training and education programmes
  • Immersive content on tourist attractions
  • Self-driving cars will be able to stream music and films from the cloud
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