PHNOM PENH, Aug. 21 (Xinhua) -- Cambodia's mobile telecommunications company Smart Axiata, in partnership with global ICT solutions provider Huawei, launched the 4.5G network in Cambodia on Monday.
Cambodian Minister of Posts and Telecommunications Tram Iv Tek said Smart Axiata was the first telecom operator that introduced 4.5G evolution technology to Cambodia.
"This latest evolution of mobile technology will enable subscribers to enjoy better and faster mobile internet," he said during the launching ceremony. "Fast access to the internet is indeed an important tool in developing a digital economy."
In Cambodia, about 45 percent of the population is still offline, the minister said, adding that the country expected that 100 percent of the urban dwellers and 80 percent of the rural dwellers would use the Internet by 2020.
Thomas Hundt, chief executive officer of Smart Axiata, said 4.5G network is capable of providing an Internet speed 8 times higher than that of 4G.
"We strive to be the most progressive telco in the country. Smart will continue to seek new and better ways to ensure our subscribers receive the best possible service," he said. "After being the first telco introducing 4G LTE in Cambodia in 2014, 4G+ in 2016, and now 4.5G, and 5G is surely not far away."
Industry experts expect the first commercial launch of full-fledged 5G to happen in 2020.
Li Xiongwei, chief executive officer of Huawei Technologies Cambodia, said Huawei was very pleased to cooperate with Smart to launch 4.5G and to bring Cambodia closer to next generation technology.
"The 4.5G will certainly bring significant network improvements from today's 4G network, while acting as a bridge for future mobile data applications when 5G is launched in the future," he said.
Cambodia has six mobile phone operators and about 30 Internet service providers.
According to the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications, approximately 8 million out of the country's 15 million people have now access to the Internet.