Friday 29 May 2020

Sweden stride into 5G

Sweden took a massive step into the 5G era with three of its mobile operators all launching their 5G networks the weekend of May 24th/25th 2020.
Tele2 issued a press release insisting they were the first operator to launch the next generation mobile network by activating Sweden’s first public 5G network in accordance with global standards.The telco said that the company’s customers will be able to enjoy the next generation mobile network in Stockholm, Gothenburg and Malmö. Their 5G services will be offered using 80 megahertz bandwidth on C-Band spectrum. And from 24 June 2020, all customers with a Tele2 Unlimited subscription and a 5G compatible mobile phone from Samsung’s Galaxy S20 series, will get free access to Tele2’s 5G network.

Meanwhile Telia Sweden inaugurated its first major commercial 5G network in Stockholm. The network has been up and running for a number of weeks already. 15 base stations are already in place, and during June a further 60+ will be built. The 5G network will cover most of central Stockholm by Midsummer. Expansion of the network is underway in a further 12 cities including Gothenburg and Malmö, where it will be launched later this year.

During the spring, 15 base stations were upgraded with 5G in Stockholm, and the network is already up and running. A further 60+ are due to be completed during June in partnership with Ericsson. As a result, a significant part of Stockholm will be covered by 5G by the end of the May, including Norrmalm, Östermalm and Vasastan. Parallel to this, expansion of the network is taking place in a further 12 cities, including Gothenburg and Malmö, where it will be launched later this year.

The new 5G network will contribute to higher data speeds, lower latency and more efficient power consumption. Telia’s 5G network is powered by 100 percent renewable energy which has been certified by the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation. Telia’s 4G network will continue to play an important role in complementing the 5G network.

Finally, Tre Sweden also announced they will be launching 5G services in Malmö, Lund, Helsingborg, Vasteras, Uppsala and western parts of Stockholm in June.This will be an expansion on their already-launched 5G network back in December 2019, when it announced testing.

The announcements have been made despite the fact that Sweden has not yet auctioned the allocation of frequencies in the 3.5 GHz and 2.3 GHz bands, which are key to 5G expansion due to their optimum balance of download speeds and coverage.

The operators have also been forced to be fairly inventive with spectrum for their new 5G networks because of the delay in the allocation of 5G-capable spectrum in the 2.3GHz and 3.5GHz bands. Telia is using its existing 700MHz spectrum assets, Tele2 is currently relying on 80MHz in the C-band and Three Sweden is using frequencies in the 2.6GHz band.

Anders Nilsson, CEO and president of Tele2, explained that Tele2 decided to buy additional frequencies in the C-band to allow it to launch "real 5G" before the summer.

The Swedish Post and Telecom Agency (PTS) has said the auction of frequencies in the 2.3GHz and 3.5GHz bands is due to start on November 10, 2020, with applications invited by June 30. It plans to sell "up to" 15 nationwide licenses in the 3.5GHz band, incorporating a maximum 320MHz of frequencies, and up to 80MHz in the 2.3GHz range.

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