On Monday, the President of Chile, Sebastián Piñera, announced the launch of a public tender process for a national 5G network, the most advanced in the country’s telecommunications history.
The new technology will increase tenfold the average speed of navigating the internet, while capacity will be 100 times greater than current 4G networks.
“We must prioritize the roll out of 5G technology in those sectors that are vital for our citizens, such as health, education, transport and natural disaster response,” said the President. He was speaking at the launch ceremony in La Moneda Presidential Palace, where he was accompanied by the Transportation and Telecommunications Minister, Gloria Hutt and the Science Minister, Andrés Couve.
The implementation of the future network will entail investment of between US$2.65 billion and US$3 billion in infrastructure over the next five years, making it a strong source of job growth. Furthermore, the announcement places Chile at the leading edge of telecommunications in Latin America, as it will be the first country to develop this technology.
The new network will enhance communications between devices, thereby boosting the development of smart cities. In the area of transportation, it will connect vehicles and this interaction will lead to greater efficiency in managing city transport networks, reducing accidents and congestion and optimizing the use of streets and highways.
Other features, such as traffic lights, streetlights, cameras and sensors, are also coordinated through the network, which will improve the quality of life in cities, making them more user-friendly for senior citizens and safer for children.
In order to implement the network, the number of antennae in the country needs to double, from the 30,000 currently in place to 60,000 total units.
The current 4G network has more than 16 million users, all of whom will benefit from the upgrade.
The tender process fulfills the government’s commitment to strengthening the country’s digital infrastructure to meet the challenges posed by the technological revolution. Other highlights are the National Fiber Optic (FON) and the Trans-Pacific Cable projects, which will connect Chile and South America to Asia and Oceania.
During the ceremony, the Transportation and Telecommunications Ministry and the Universidad de Chile and Universidad de Concepción signed an agreement to create the 5G Campus, making it possible to set up experimental networks that will allow the two academic institutions to conduct research related to this technology.
“Today we are taking a great leap forward in the field of telecommunications into a future that is already here,” said the President. He was accompanied by Telecommunications Undersecretary Pamela Gidi, Science Undersecretary, Carolina Torrealba, the Rector of the Universidad de Chile, Ennio Vivaldi, and the Rector of the Universidad de Concepción, Carlos Saavedra.