1G, 2G, 3G, 4G, 5G and beyond


PAPUA New Guinea’s National Transmission Network (NTN) programme, comprising the simultaneous construction of the K324 million Coral Sea Cable (CS2) and the K661 million Kumul Submarine Cable Network (KSCN), is scheduled for 4G Long-Term Evolution (LTE or 4.5G LTE-A Pro) rollout in January.
Internet users are expected to enjoy even lower rates from Telikom and bmobile with the rollout.
Kumul Telikom Holdings (KTH) Group interim chief executive and managing-director Dr Mosey Sau told The National recently that both Telikom and bmobile saw an increase of about 60,000 subscribers following the announcement of a reduction of between 70 and 80 per cent in internet access rates in July.
The KSCN digital platform, to link users nationwide, is a sub-project under the NTN, constructed by Telekom’s internet wholesale arm PNG Data Co in consultancy with world telecommunications giant, Huawei Technologies Co Ltd.
The domestic fibre optic cable will link 13 cities and provinces in PNG and also Indonesia’s Jayapura, and to the rest of the world via CS2.
And, PNG’s Information, Communications, Information (ICT) blueprint, to transform the country’s ICT sector, has already been submitted to the Cabinet for deliberation.

4G LTE is expected to change the lifestyle of Papua New Guineans.
As part of its corporate responsibility to educate and help Papua New Guineans embrace the digital changes, Huawei Technologies (PNG) PVT Ltd has been conducting free courses or lectures on the global digital evolution at its ICT training centre in Paragon Haus, Waigani.

The National’s reporter DALE LUMA seized the opportunity to attend one such day-long lecture on Nov 22 to understand the 1G to 5G evolution, and the impact on daily lives.

THE telecommunications industry has changed over the years and with it, the evolution of different generations of mobile communication systems that have changed the lives of people.
Huawei Technologies Co Ltd senior consultant Rex Li-zhi said not only has the industry evolved, but the people’s services and preferences had also changed.
“The industry changed from analog to digital, resulting in the massive use of data-based services and diverse applications to communicate between humans and machines, and machines and machines,” said Li-zhi, a senior consultant who has been with Shenzhen-based Huawei for 19 years.
“Making calls and sending short messages are original services associated with telecommunication services. Today, social media and other applications such as Whatsapp and Tiktok are growing in popularity.
“The voice call (making calls) was the most popular and the first telecommunications service provided.
“But now we know that that service has stagnated and not increased in many countries. This is because many young people and new generation do not want to make traditional calls.
“For example, they may want to use Whatsapp to send voice messages. This is cheaper or more economical. You can also use mobile data service to access your preferred network applications,” he added.

All graphics courtesy of huawei

“Some countries also use the fixed phone services but it is also not popular now because you have to pay a fixed charge to use that service which is costlier than mobile phones.
“In some countries, fixed phone services are still popular but the new generation users do not want to because the coverage is only in a smaller and specific location, like in your home. Other services that are used now are broadband,” Li-zhi said.

First generation mobile communications system (1G)
“The robust analogue-based 1G or first generation system had been in use for a long time before it was rendered obsolete by digital technology. Analogue’s capacity is lower, subject to much interference and the cost is higher.
“Some countries use analogue for radio stations but it is exposed to interference and unstable. Then, it was very expensive and was used for some two decades.
“1G was incompatible and had low capacity, poor security and poor call quality,” he added.
Second generation mobile communications system (3G)
“Then 2G came and became extremely popular because it had the GSM (Global Standards for Mobile communications) for digital voice.
“Many people remember that telecom starter from 2G because of the GSM. It was very successful and used in many countries, even now.
“Because GSM is ‘very’ coverage secured, you can capture the signal anywhere, even in rural areas. In some rural areas of China, they still use GSM because sites are still available.
“In some countries, GSM is also used for providing credit card services. However, GSM did not allow for data service.
“As an improvement, GPRS (General Packet Radio Service), which is described as 2.5G system and EDGE (Enhanced data rates for GSM evolution), a 2.75G system was introduced which allowed data services.
“The problem for 2G services is that the speed is much slower, normally like 20 kilobytes per second which is inadequate for video viewing when brousing.
“When/If you use Whatsapp on 2G, you can send a message but sending pictures and videos will take a long time,” Li-zhi said.

Third generation mobile communications system (3G)
“As an improvement, we use 3G which is so complex. 3G has three standards, the WCDMA (Wideband Code Division Multiple Access), CDMA200 (Code Division Multiple Access 2000) and TD-SCDMA (Time Division-Synchronous Code Division).
“Most countries will only choose one standard, like the WCDMA and some countries will use all three, for example China.
“3G is good in some countries but not really successful in others, such as China, Japan and South Korea. It is okay but the problem is that 4G was developing fast.
“Normally, when you use 3G, you will get to 100 megabytes per second. It is good for sending pictures but not enough for videos.
“3G has also been enhanced to 3.5 HSPA (High Speed Packet Access and 3.75 HSPA+ (High Speed Packet Access Plus) which are versions two and three.”

Fourth generation mobile communications system (4G)
“The fourth generation system or 4G provides high spectral efficiency, high data rate, low service cost and high quality multimedia services.
“4G is also called LTE (Long Term Evolution) or 4G LTE technically means 3.9G LTE-A (Advanced) is the real 4G which not many people are aware of.
“The speed is much higher and normally you can get about 100mbps (Megabytes per second) for 4G.
“But there is also another level known as the 4.5G (LTE-A Pro) which combines 4G LTE and 4G LTE-A,” Li-zhi said.
However, he said, the mobile generation system was now evolving with 5G, now used in some countries which comes with much higher speed and capabilities that could change how things are normally operated via AI (Artificial Intelligence) and IoT (Internet of Things).
Li-zhi said 5G was not the end and that 6G research had already started in China to potentially totally revolutionise the way things conducted for lifestyle and industries.