Digital BRI: China and Pakistan Building CPEC Info Expressway With Fiber, 5G

‘Digital Silk Road’ project is one of 12 sub-themes agreed to at the recently concluded Belt Road Forum 2019 (BRF19) in Beijing. This state-of-the-art information superhighway will involve laying fiber optic cables in Pakistan which will connect with China in the north and link with Africa and the Arab World via undersea cable to be laid from Gwadar Deep Sea Port built as part of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). The global project will include 5G wireless networks deployment in BRI (Belt Road Initiative) member nations.

China-Pakistan Fiber Optic Cable Route

Fiber Optic Cables:

The laying of 820 kilometer long China-Pakistan fiber optic cable has already been laid between the city of Rawalpindi, Pakistan in the south and the Khunjerab Pass, China in the north  and operational since July, 2018.

By 2020, the 6,299 kilometers of underwater cables will extend to Djibouti from Gwadar and form the Digital Silk Route between Asia and Africa. At the same time, a space-based Silk Road will provide satellite navigation support to all BRI countries. The first Beidou base station of the Space Silk Road is already operational in Pakistan since 2017.  BeiDou is making rapid progress with 30 BRI countries already linked up.

When completed, the ambitious global initiative would use an exclusive satellite navigation system, BeiDou, fiber networks and 5G on land and submarine cables to create a multi-dimensional digital mega-project across land, sea and space.

5G Deployment:

Huawei is already pushing for 5G deployment in Pakistan where it has already established a strong market presence. Pakistan Telecom Authority (PTA) has already identified spectrum in 2.6 GHz, 3.5 GHz and millimeter wave band it plans to allocate for auction to 5G vendors. This will include both fixed and mobile 5G deployment.

PTA has set up its 5G Working Group with members from telecom operators, vendors, manufacturers, Academia, R and D organizations, regulator (Pakistan Telecom Authority - PTA), Pakistan Government ministries and Frequency Allocation Board (FAB).

Over 65 million Pakistanis now subscribe to 3G and 4G services launched 5 years ago. 5G uptake rate in Pakistan is expected to be rapid. "Attractive tariffs for 5G users will be the key to encouraging a large number of customers" Mohammad Suhail, head of the Karachi based Topline Securities Investors' Advisory told Nikkei.

US vs China:

The Trump Administration sees China's aggressive 5G lead as a threat to the West's technology dominance. US government has been warning its allies against use Huawei's 5G equipment in their networks based on its fears of Chinese government espionage operations.

Chinese 5G suppliers currently hold 36% of all 5G patents worldwide. In spite of US efforts, Chinese telecom giants Huawei and ZTE are beating their western rivals to acquire access to huge markets around the world in Asia, Africa, South America and the Middle East.

Summary:

China is aggressively pursuing its plans to build a global digital superhighway that runs through Pakistan. This "Digital Silk Road" involves laying fiber optic cables in Pakistan which connect with China to the north and link with Africa and the Arab World via undersea cable to be laid from Gwadar Deep Sea Port built as part of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). An 820 kilometer long China-Pakistan fiber optic cable has already been laid between Rawalpindi, Pakistan and the Khunjerab Pass, China.  The global project will include 5G wireless networks deployment in BRI (Belt Road Initiative) member nations. Meanwhile, the United States is continuing its campaign to have its allies boycott 5G equipment built by China's Huawei.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

South Asia Investor Review

State Bank Targets Fully Digital Economy in Pakistan

Campaign of Fear Against CPEC

Fintech Revolution in Pakistan

E-Commerce in Pakistan

The Other 99% of the Pakistan Story

FMCG Boom in Pakistan

Belt Road Forum 2019

Fiber Network Growth in Pakistan

Riaz Haq's Youtube Channel

Comments

Riaz Haq said…
Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited (PTCL) has transformed 13 more exchanges in 7 cities as part of its Network Transformation Project (NTP).

https://www.urdupoint.com/en/pakistan/pakistan-telecommunication-company-limited-p-605961.html


The upgraded exchanges include: Ghakhar, Vaniawala and Pasroor Road exchanges in Gujranwala, Shahdara, Egerton Road and Bahria Town exchanges in Lahore, Chaklala & Islamabad Town exchanges in Islamabad, Charsadda Road & Cantt. exchanges in Peshawar, Sargodha Road exchange in Faisalabad, Wah Cantt.

exchange in Rawalpindi and Kharian exchange in Kharian.

Through PTCL's new network, customers can experience a faster and more reliable internet based on the company's enhanced copper network, along with a new fiber network. The upgraded exchanges under NTP have already resulted in a 40% reduction of customer complaints.

Jahanzeb Taj, Chief Business Operating Officer, PTCL,said, "Under NTP, PTCL has invested considerably in transforming and upgrading its top 100 exchanges, which have the highest number of customers in major cities. As a result, customers can now experience a quality network that offers high speed unlimited internet, state-of-the-art technology, seamless surfing and unlimited data streaming, all of which is vital in today's digitally connected world." PTCL customers can view the upgraded exchanges through company's official website and subscribe to 8, 15, 25, 50 and 100 mbps unlimited internet packages offered in transformed exchanges with free PTCL calls, unlimited downloads, free PTCL Smart TV & Smart TV App and free Wi-Fi router, said a press release issued here on Thursday.


Riaz Haq said…
PAKISTAN –Way Forward 5G

https://www.itu.int/en/ITU-D/Regional-Presence/AsiaPacific/SiteAssets/Pages/ITU-USF-(Pakistan)-Workshop-on-Internet-Access-and-Adoption/5G%20%26%20Digital%20Divide%20-%20Challenges%20and%20Opportunities.pdf

• A PTA- FAB – MoIT&T - Operator – Vendor- Academia based
Working Group is being established. Consultations to be started
soon.
• Pakistan to participate with Standardization bodies especially in
WRC-19
• 5G Trials will be offered. Test & Trial Framework in progress
• Permission for trials will be granted as per applications received.

4.5G LTE-Advanced (Rel. 12 and above) can be utilized as a bridge
towards 5G Networks.
• For conducting Pre-5G trial, Hot Spots can be set-up using Fixed
Broadband Network based on TDD-LTE technology (Rel 12 at
least)
• Trial conditions can be better met in an Indoor Network because it
allows better control on SINR conditions thus resulting in
utilization of higher modulation schemes (64 & 256 QAM) and
support high order MIMO (4x4 and above)
• User Equipment (UE) of Category 16 or above to be used to
ensure Gbps DL speed is supported.
Riaz Haq said…
How China is redrawing the map of world science
The Belt and Road Initiative, China’s mega-plan for global infrastructure, will transform the lives and work of tens of thousands of researchers. By Ehsan Masood


https://www.nature.com/immersive/d41586-019-01124-7/index.html


In Pakistan, it is co-sponsoring a range of research centres that are studying topics from rice agriculture to artificial intelligence and railway engineering. In the heart of the European Union, a Chinese–Belgian science park provides homes for companies trying to expand trade in medical devices, solar power and other technologies. And in South America, China has partnered with Chile and Argentina on astronomical centres and has gained access to some of the best observatories in the world. In total, the scientific side of the BRI involves tens of thousands of researchers and students, and hundreds of universities. There are few regions of the developing world where China’s scientific outreach does not have a footprint.

--------------------

As one component of this massive initiative, China is creating what it calls a 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, a giant oceanic loop that links the country’s shipping to the nations bordering each of the great oceans, including some in Africa and South America. Then there’s the Silk Road Economic Belt, a complicated network of six overland corridors that connect China to some of Asia and Europe’s major cities through railways, roads and maritime paths.

The signs of a scientific BRI emerged soon after Xi visited central Asia in September 2013. The following year, CAS funded an upgrade to a 1-metre telescope at Uzbekistan’s Ulugh Beg Astronomical Institute. The improvement paved the way for the Uzbekistan institute to survey the northern sky in collaboration with China’s Xinjiang Astronomical Observatory. Uzbekistan has no experience in telescope making, observatory director Shuhrat Ehgamberdiev told the CAS Bulletin, so the most important technological part was done by China’s engineers. This was the beginning of much grander plans by CAS.

The BRI’s scientific component is being masterminded by Bai. Trained in China as an X-ray crystallographer, Bai worked with John Baldeschwieler at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena in the mid-1980s on scanning tunnelling microscopy.

Even early in Bai’s career, it was clear he would go far, says Baldeschwieler, who remembers predicting that Bai would one day become president of CAS. During a visit to Beijing in 1995, Baldeschwieler was amazed to find that Bai had arranged a meeting with China’s then-president Jiang Zemin. “We were picked up in a small bus and taken by police escort with flashing lights through Tiananmen Square to the Great Hall of the People.” Young boys and girls were lining the stairs on a red carpet, he recalls.

Under Bai, the science BRI has been running on three parallel tracks. In China, CAS has established five centres of excellence at its institutes, and these host the 200 PhD students that the academy trains every year.

Outside China, it has opened nine research and training centres, in Africa, central Asia, South America and south and southeast Asia — often co-funded by their host countries. The China–Brazil Joint Laboratory for Space Weather in São José dos Campos, for example, is monitoring space weather changes and developing forecast models. In Bangkok, the CAS Innovation Cooperation Center helps Thailand’s universities and technology companies to work with Chinese counterparts, and at the same time gives China a foothold in the region. And then there are hundreds of individual collaborations between CAS and universities in China and elsewhere.

The third track is what CAS is calling the Digital Belt and Road, a platform for participating countries to share the data obtained as part of their collaborative projects with each other and with China. These data include satellite images as well as quantitative data on natural hazards, water resources and cultural heritage sites.
Riaz Haq said…
#Trump trying to crush one of #China's most high-profile #tech companies is deeply unwise. Companies around the world — including #Huawei’s #American suppliers (#Google, #Intel, #Qualcomm) will lose business incur & significant new costs #5G https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2019-05-20/huawei-blacklist-trump-and-commerce-make-a-serious-mistake via @bopinion

In its struggle with China over trade and national security, the U.S. has many legitimate grievances, and a variety of weapons for seeking redress. That doesn’t mean it should use all of them.

The nuclear missile the U.S. just launched at Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. is a case in point. Last week, the Commerce Department placed Huawei and nearly 70 of its affiliates on an “Entity List,” which means that U.S. suppliers may now need a license to do business with them. Both Huawei’s mobile phones and its network equipment rely on American components, including advanced semiconductors. If the ban is applied stringently, it could drive one of China’s most high-profile companies — employing more than 180,000 people — out of business.


That would be a serious mistake. The U.S. has long argued that Huawei poses a national-security threat. And there certainly are legitimate reasons to worry that incorporating Huawei gear into America’s networks will leave them vulnerable both to spying and, in the event of a conflict, sabotage. But the U.S. is already taking other prudent steps to prevent Huawei equipment from being used domestically. Seeking to put the company out of business as well is both disproportionate and deeply unwise.

For one thing, it will impose collateral damage. Blameless companies around the world — including Huawei’s American suppliers — could lose business, face disruptions and incur significant new costs. Allies that have resisted U.S. pressure to shun Huawei’s equipment will resent being backed into a corner: Even if President Donald Trump loosens the noose a bit, they can hardly take the chance that restrictions won’t be re-imposed later. China will only redouble its efforts to produce advanced technologies domestically.

As a negotiating strategy, the decision makes even less sense. U.S. officials claim it had nothing to do with stalled trade talks, but it certainly looks like Trump wants to use Huawei as leverage, just as he did last year with ZTE Corp. Trump has already invoked national security far too often in pursuing his scattered trade battles. Doing so here would set another terrible precedent while almost certainly backfiring: It will aggravate the current impasse and give Beijing little incentive to abide by any eventual agreement.

Worse, the decision undermines the implicit point of any U.S.-China trade deal: not just to increase commerce but to stabilize relations between the world’s two most powerful nations. While tensions are inevitable, a healthy trading relationship should in theory restore ballast, reminding both sides of the benefits of cooperation and strengthening constituencies that have reason to prefer peace to war. By contrast, targeting Huawei so nakedly will only further marginalize the few moderates in the Chinese leadership and embolden hawks who see conflict as unavoidable. For ordinary Chinese, it will be hard to avoid the impression that the U.S. is simply trying to limit their economic possibilities.

Even on its own terms, finally, this gambit is likely to fail. To be effective, an assault on Huawei would need to be embedded in a larger strategy with a clearer endgame in mind. That’s nowhere in evidence: Is the aim to cripple China’s tech industry? Teach the country its place? Give a boost to non-Chinese suppliers? Provoke a conflict? End one? Without a more focused goal, Trump risks simply alienating U.S. allies, infuriating average Chinese and raising the chances of confrontation, all to no obvious end.


Riaz Haq said…
Towards CPEC 3.0
Sohaib R. Malik

https://www.dawn.com/news/1484851

In the telecom industry, China’s Huawei has become a leading equipment supplier and is among the world’s most innovative companies with nearly 88,000 patents as of December 2018. Analysts believe it is set to lead the world in the rollout of the future’s most promising, and critical, technology: fifth-generation (5G) mobile telecom infrastructure. As of April 2019, Huawei had signed more than 40 5G contracts globally, proving that the firm can commercialise its solutions faster than its Western and Asian rivals.

Many Chinese tech giants are already present in Pakistan. Since digital connectivity and infrastructure are essential for tomorrow’s economies, future cooperation in this area should form a major pillar of CPEC. Regardless of the US government’s fierce opposition, Chinese tech giants will be at the forefront of advancements in the telecom industry. Therefore, B2B partnerships could help Pakistan’s budding ICT sector to develop capacities by engaging with Chinese partners. Meanwhile, Chinese firms can target the vast untapped potential of Pakistani market.

Concerned chiefly about its soaring dependence on imported fuels and worsening urban pollution — challenges we can relate with — the Chinese government implemented several corrective measures. Since taking the reins in 2013, President Xi has stressed the need for sustainability more than his predecessors. Resultantly, China is a leader in the renewables industry and the largest market for electric vehicles (EVs). According to Wood Mackenzie, a consultancy, by December 2018 China had 181 gigawatt of wind and 175GW of solar PV capacity — a whopping one-third of installations worldwide.

Although Western original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) dominate the global wind turbine value chain, Chinese PV suppliers are rivalled by none, albeit facing anti-dumping duties by many countries. Chinese turbine OEMs have struggled to lure investors outside their domestic market, but thanks to CPEC, they hold a 30pc share in Pakistan’s nascent wind energy market. Chinese turbine OEMs are willing to localise production for future installations, which can lay the foundation for tech transfer — yet another incentive that sets renewables apart from thermal power.

China leads the world in emerging trends in e-mobility. It has over 200 million electric two-wheelers and recorded sales of 1m EVs in 2018 — more than the rest of the world combined. According to McKinsey, a consultancy, the success of Chinese OEMs is more pronounced in the e-bus segment — of the 97,000 urban buses sold in China in 2018, 87,000 were electric.

Beijing has a goal that one-fifth of vehicles sold in China by 2025 should be electric, which will catalyse exponential growth in EV sales and help Chinese manufacturers consolidate their strengths. Advancements in these sectors will create further synergies. For instance, 5G connectivity is necessary to commercialise autonomous EVs and robo-taxis, which will rely on artificial intelligence and fuelled (ideally) through renewables.

This is not to suggest that China will help us become an important player in these futuristic technologies. That thought is far-fetched. Nevertheless, by aiding Islamabad in these areas to address the economic and environmental challenges it faces, Beijing will vindicate President Xi’s stated vision of BRI and legitimise its leadership in the developing world. Or else we must tone down the enthusiasm that encircles CPEC and reassess the allocation of our scarce institutional resources for better outcomes.
Riaz Haq said…
Total #broadband #subscriptions in #Pakistan hit 70 million. Figure includes 67 million #3G and #4G #wireless subscriptions and 3 million #wired #Internet subscriptions. https://tribune.com.pk/story/1985151/2-total-broadband-users-pakistan-hit-70-million/

Total broadband, 3G, 4G and landline internet users, in Pakistan have reached a milestone of 70 million, according to latest data by the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA).

Out of the 70 million users, 67 million are 3G and 4G subscribers. The number of total cellular subscribers in Pakistan had reached 161 million by end-April 2019, 1.26% more than 159 million in the previous month, according to PTA.

The total count of Jazz’s 4G users grew from 8.774 million by end of March to 9.618 by end of April, according to PTA data. However, the company released a presser on Friday that it has crossed the 10-million mark for 4G data subscribers. The company’s 3G user number stood at 13.393 million by end-April compared to 13.622 million by end-March, a decrease of 0.229 million.

Telenor 4G subscribers jumped to 6.186 million by end-April 2019 against 5.905 million, while the company’s 3G users decreased from 8.764 million in March to 8.640 million in April.

Zong 4G users also soared from 11.6 million by the end of March 2019 to 12.056 million by end-April.

3G subscribers of the Chinese cellular company increased from 8.764 million in March to 8.779 million in April 2019.

Ufone 4G users stood at 1.156 million in the month under review, while its 3G users declined from 7.846 million in March to 7.646 million in April, down by 0.2 million.

Improved internet penetration has a positive impact on the economy of any country, said an industry official. Due to increased broadband, Pakistan is moving towards financial inclusion.

People in remote areas could not use financial services before, but now they are using banking on mobile, due to which
Riaz Haq said…
USF Universal Service Fund #Pakistan approves Rs. 1.89 billion fund for improving #Telecom infrastructure throughout the country. Will provide coverage to segments of the #highways which don’t have any #connectivity yet such as N10, N25, N50, N65 and N70
https://www.techjuice.pk/usf-approves-rs-1-89-billion-fund-for-improving-telecom-infrastructure-throughout-the-country/

Universal Service Fund of Pakistan has approved around Rs. 1.89 billion for improving the telecom and IT infrastructure of the country. The fund is aimed at the development of various projects such as Broadband for Sustainable Development (BSD) Program, Next Generation BSD Program and more. These projects once completed will help improve connectivity across the country.

Taking a look at these projects, first up we have Broadband for Sustainable Development (BSD) which will target around 12,000 districts in all provinces of the country and will connect them with rest of the world. The minimum bandwidth being offered as per this project will be 256 kbps. Currently, 30 major projects are underway through this plan and another grant of Rs. 192 million has been awarded to further increase the reach of this plan to 401 unserved districts of North Waziristan, Bannu and Lakki Marwat.

Second up we have Roaming Facility for National Highways and Motorways which will help provide coverage to segments of the motorway which don’t have any connectivity yet such as N10, N25, N50, N65 and N70. This project was first started off in 2018 and since then, the 694 km long Coastal Highway which connects Karachi and Gawadar has broadband connectivity. As of right now, around 7700 km of roads are not covered.

Thirdly, we have the Next Generation BSD Program for Unserved Population which aims to provide high-speed connectivity to 46 districts with a minimum data rate of 512 kbps. Through this, around 30 million people will have better connectivity. Tender notices have also been released to cater to 3052 unserved or underserved districts of Matiari, Hyderabad, Tando Allahyar, Tando Muhammad Khan, Badin, Sujawal, Bahawalpur, Rahimyar Khan and Bahawalnagar.

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