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Swisscom to roll out latest 5G mobile generation in 2018

Berne, 22 February 2018

Swisscom customers will now enjoy the 5th mobile generation at the end of 2018, two years earlier than originally expected. The pace at which the latest mobile communication standard is developing has rocketed. Ericsson, Swisscom’s network equipment supplier, will deliver the first 5G hardware and software and implement it in the Swisscom mobile network this year. The company will shortly be trialling Switzerland’s first 5G mast in Ittigen. However, development of an extensive and fully efficient 5G network is dependent on a moderate amendment of regulatory parameters.

Rollout at the end of 2018: Swisscom is to launch the 5th mobile generation in Switzerland. Swisscom and Ericsson aim to implement the first hardware and software in the Swisscom mobile network this year. “Swisscom plans to introduce 5G at selected sites this year,” says Heinz Herren, CIO & CTO Swisscom. “Swisscom has set a few 5G test milestones in recent years, which is why we will be able to equip our mobile network with 5G as early as this year.

Swisscom is not the only one steaming ahead with 5G development: the international standard has also now been defined. The first 5G-ready mobile phones are expected on the market at the beginning of 2019. The rollout of the first 5G infrastructure highlights Swisscom’s ambition to always offer its customers the latest technologies as soon as possible. In doing so, it lays the foundation for the development of further 5G applications. This development is particularly vital to industry in establishing new production sites – and to Switzerland as it pitches for new industries to come and settle here.

5G customer benefits

5G enables faster speeds, higher capacities and shorter response times. It also brings 5G applications like network slicing within reach. Experts expect great things of its use in machine-to-machine (M2M) communication: as the machines are fitted with sensors, they can communicate with each other in real time. Business, science, industry and residential customers alike will benefit from the new mobile generation. 5G will be the operating system of digitisation.

ONIR amendment required

Despite being subject to the most rigorous ONIR limits in Europe, Swiss mobile networks are among the world’s best. However, efficient use and development of extensive fully effective new-generation networks hinges on the amendment of the Ordinance on Protection from Non-ionizing Radiation (ONIR) and a change in measurement procedures. Thus, in January of this year economiesuisse and the business consulting firm EY teamed up with the mobile communication industry to evaluate the 5G situation and came to the conclusion that the statutory framework conditions need to be brought into line.

First 5G mobile mast in Switzerland

In the summer of 2016 Swisscom, Ericsson and EPFL (École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne) launched the “5G for Switzerland” programme to jointly conduct research on the new mobile communication standard. Swisscom has reached a host of 5G test milestones since: in the summer of 2017 Swisscom presented 5G applications like network slicing and speeds of 20 Gbit/s. Swisscom’s industrial partner, Ypsomed, uses 5G applications in the Industry 4.0 sector.

Swisscom is due to trial the first 5G mast in the middle of March 2018 and aims to roll out 5G in the mobile network at selected sites by the end of 2018. Given an amendment of the regulatory parameters, extensive coverage can be expected in 2020.

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