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A Peek Inside TM 5G NR Base Station; Delivering 5G On 700MHz and C-Band Simultaneously

You might have seen communication tower and base station in many places throughout the country, but have you ever wondered what their equipment actually looks like? They are usually off-limits to the general public but recently in Langkawi, TM has provided us an access to one of its 5G base stations.

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This particular 5G New Radio (NR) installation is located at the Langkawi District and Land Office in Kuah and it is positioned just behind the 5G Command Centre which we have also visited right here. Established with the help of its long-time partner Huawei, this particular installation is apparently called a portable base station but that doesn’t mean it can be wheeled away easily.

The word “portable” here is apparently a reference to the non-permanent nature of the tower structure which can be set up in a rapid manner. According to Huawei engineers that were on site, this type of base station can be set up as fast as 6 hours. Of course, with all the necessary authorities’ approvals have been sorted out in the first place.

TM’s Mobile 5G team pointed out that this particular base station which has a theoretical max throughput of 8Gbps is connected to the island’s 5G core at TM Padang Matsirat via fibre. With the ability to support both 5G Non-Standalone and Standalone implementations, the base station is also able to deliver 5G through 700MHz and C-band simultaneously.

In addition to the Langkawi District and Land Office as well as Padang Matsirat, TM has also positioned 5G base stations in other locations throughout the the island including Langkawi International Airport, Nadias Hotel and Meritus Pelangi Beach Resort in Cenang, Ombak Villa, and Dataran Lang.

For the usage of the 5G Demonstration Projects (5GDP), the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia (MCMC) has granted TM with a test bandwidth set of of 2 x 20MHz for the 700MHz spectrum and 100MHz for the C-band. To demonstrate what those numbers means, TM’s Mobile 5G team has performed a live speed test in front of us using two Huawei Mate 30 Pro 5G within the vicinity of the Langkawi District & Land Office:

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While the results above looked rather promising, let’s not forget that 5G in Malaysia are still in testing phase. There are indeed still plenty of things that the government and the industry have to sort out first but nevertheless, what we have seen here once again showed that the Malaysian telcos have the knowledge and technical ability to make 5G happened in our country.

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