Brunei switches off its 2G GSM mobile networks in anticipation of 5G
Brunei’s telecom regulator AITI shut down the nation’s 2G network in June 2021.
The spectrum will be reallocated to 3G and 4G use, with the potential for it also to be extended to 5G once the decision is made to enable those services.
Only a small number of mobile customers were still using GSM-only handsets, and the government along with the mobile network operators provided assistance to ease their transition over to newer 4G-capable models. Most of the rest of the country has been surviving well enough on 3G and 4G services provided by incumbent DSTCom and Progresif. Following the release of universal operating licences in 2019, fixed network operator Imagine became the third mobile service provider in January 2020, entering an already saturated marketplace with (at the time) over 125% penetration.
Future growth is expected to come from the anticipated rollout of 5G mobile networks that may come as early as 2022. In such a small market (with a population of less than half a million), the economic viability of upgrading to 5G may still be in question. But the government is forging ahead with several Proof of Concept (PoC) projects around the country to showcase 5G’s capabilities, and they may be instrumental in driving the sector towards introducing very high-speed mobile services sooner rather than later.Key developments:
Companies mentioned in this report:
- Bucking global trends, Brunei increases fixed-line teledensity and fixed broadband penetration while dropping back on mobile and mobile broadband.
- The first of five Proof of Concept 5G projects is unveiled, aiming to increase awareness about the benefits of 5G.
- Brunei’s 2G GSM network is shut down, with the spectrum to be reallocated to 3G, 4G, and potentially 5G use.
- Imagine joins DSTCom and Progresif to become the third operator in Brunei’s mobile market.
- The Unified National Network (UNN) launches a co-location service at its Tier 2 data centre.
- DST launches two new e-commerce solutions: DSTPay and the Zakat Fitrah Online Payment Service.
Imagine (Telekom Brunei/TelBru), DST/DSTCom, Progresif (B-Mobile).