The 5G network in Switzerland is on: two operators, Sunrise and Swisscom, “turned on the switch” in April. Sunrise is the first to have launched a 5G network in Switzerland and Europe*. It did so on April 4. Their criterion: serve companies and those who do not have fiber at home. Swisscom turned it on a few days ago, offering 5G to businesses that want to digitize, and to consumers with a surprise launch: the first commercial 5G smartphone from the unknown-in-Europe Chinese manufacturer Oppo.
In the Middle-European alpine nation, the network growths by the week, gradually including also tourist areas and small communities.
Sunrise already covers 150 cities and communities. PCs, laptops, tablets and smartphones connect at home or in the office to the 5G Sunrise “5G for People” network via an Internet Box through wifi with speeds of several hundred Mbps. As the rollout of the network continues and further offers are added, bandwidths will continuously reach fiber-like speeds of 1 Gbps, Sunrise explained. For some selected customers, the new network is free as an introductory offer.
Swisscom, whose historic partner Ericsson implemented the hardware and software infrastructure, covers 54 cities and communities from April 17 midnight, and aims at 90% of the nation to be covered by the end of the year.
The new network wants to serve areas poorly covered by fiber. Swisscom offers homes and SMEs their Internet box, the 5G Booster, for a fast “air” internet.
At Sunrise, the motto of whose Internet Box is “Fiber Through the Air“, they said: “We started in the summer of 2018 with the first 5G antennas, and a year later we have the largest network. It is no coincidence that many of the areas freshly covered are not large urban centers. We are focusing first and foremost on serving with ultra-fast 5G Internet those who do not have access to fiber in the home or the business “.
With regard to electromagnetic pollution and health risks — a topic that asks for a separate article — and the frequencies used, few countries have strict pollution limits like Switzerland. 5G in Switzerland is using for now frequencies similar to those of 3G and 4G that were allocated to radio or TV. In particular, 5G in Switzerland will not be using millimeter waves. Nonetheless, the government and legislators will be surely soon discussing the 1999 EM pollution regulation.
And, surprise, voilà the Oppo Reno 5G. It costs around 880 euros and has a special feature: its fast-booting 48 megapixel camera, allows not only low-light photography, but features a 10x hybrid zoom hidden in a vertically rising structure. Oppo’s zoom results seem to come close to those of a real reflex.
The processor, available in the 8 or 256 GB versions, is a Qualcomm Snapdragon 855, the fastest in the Android market. Further 5G smartphone lunches are expected: an LG in May, a Samsung in July and a Huawei in the third quarter.
Despite a high cost of labor, Switzerland has maintained a lively productive environment by quickly adopting new technologies. This is the case of digitization, of which 5G is a key factor.
At Ericsson, which provided Swisscom with its 5G Campus Solution for businesses, they explain that 5G in Switzerland is a real possibility for enterprises to digitize entire processes in a very short time.
The just switched-on network puts businesses in the capacity of exploring hands-on the potential of the Internet of Things (IoT) and of Industry 4.0. To university researchers and enterprise sandboxes, the new network gives the possibility to deploy their creativity, and to translate it into real use cases an business models on which to measure efficiency and productivity.
“This will not only be relevant for Switzerland, but it will also be stimulating for people who enter the digital world, whether they live in a city, the countryside or the mountains,” (…) “It allows us to lay the foundation for new services and cases of professional use, which is a good thing not only for Switzerland but also for the population, which is now a stakeholder in this new digital world,” Urs Schaeppi, the CEO of Swisscom, said.
To be able to cover with 5G at least 90% of the Swiss population, Swisscom uses Ericsson’s Spectrum Sharing 4G radio solution, which is 5G-ready. Building on the 4G infrastructure, it allows to easily expand the 5G network. Via software, the spectrum is shared dynamically between 4G and 5G frequencies based on traffic demand.
“It’s a really important opportunity for Europe too,” said Arun Bansal, president of Ericsson and Europa and Latam, “5G is now commercially available, and this reinforces the entire 5G ecosystem.”
Switzerland, on the one hand, allows 5G modems and consumers to enter the devices market, on the other hand, and more importantly, gives its industry and services in all sectors the possibility to level up.
This is the way for a nation to gain a competitive advantage.