Saturday 2 January 2021

Slovenia is getting Better 5G this year


Slovenia’s competitive mobile market has three major mobile network operators and a small number of mobile virtual network operators, operating in a country with a potential market of just over two million people. The regulator in recent years has addressed the need of mobile operators for more spectrum, conducting a series of auctions. Mobile spectrum licenses have stipulated population coverage and data rate targets.

The 3 major operators: Telekom Slovenije (formely Mobitel), A1 Slovenija (fomerly si.mobil) and Telemach mob. (formerly tušmobil).

2G/GSM is on 900 and 1800 MHz, 3G on 900 and 2100 MHz. 4G/LTE has started on 800, 900, 1800 and 2600 MHz (bands 1, 3, 7, 20) on all three operators. In 2018 both Telekom and A1 cover 98% and Telemach 90% of the Slovenian population with 4G/LTE. Telekom Slovenije also covers 86% of the population with LTE-A. 5G has started in 2020 on Telekom Slovenije on n7 and n38 and covers 25% of the population, mostly in major cities.

Telekom Slovenije is the biggest operator in the country. They are market leader with a 45% share in 2016. Their 4G/LTE is accessible for prepaid and covers 98% of the population already. It has frequencies on 800, 900, 1800 and 2600 MHz (B20, B8, B3, B7). It's the first provider to offer 5G, but not yet for prepaid.

Ericsson and Telekom Slovenije, launched the first commercial 5G network in Slovenia in July 2020.The new 5G services were switched on through a software installation to existing Ericsson Radio System and Packet Core equipment which will enable spectrum sharing between 4G and 5G on the 2600MHz FDD spectrum - traditionally used for 4G only. Under the terms of the 5G deal, Ericsson is supplying Telekom Slovenije with RAN and Packet Core solutions.

Initial 5G services are available in major cities across Slovenia, covering an estimated 25 percent of the population. Telekom Slovenije aims to increase its 5G coverage to 33 percent of the population by end of 2020.

A1 Slovenija is the 2nd provider in the country. It belongs to Telekom Austria Group, is the local Vodafone partner and has a 31% market share in 2016. It has changed its brand name from Si.mobil to A1 Slovenija. The rebranding has been implemented in 2017 across the company's fixed and mobile activities.

LTE started on 1800 MHz (B3) and recently on 800 MHz (B20) and is open for prepaid. It's coverage is on par with Telecom Slovenije and covers 98% of population by LTE in 2018 and covers Ljubljana, Maribor, Kranj, Celje in Slovenj Gradec with LTE-A

Telemach started as tušmobil in 2007 and is now the 3rd operator with a 15% market share in Slovenia what coverage and customers are concerned. In 2015 it was acquired by the leading cable TV and internet broadband provider Telemach to offer triple-play and was rebranded to Telemach in 2015. 4G/LTE has started and covers 90% of population so far. 2G is at 99% and 3G at 98%. Through a national roaming agreement it uses Telekom Slovenije's 2G and 3G outside of its own coverage. As smallest operator, it gives the lowest rates and highest bonuses

In December, the Slovenian regulator AKOS has announced a tender for 5G frequencies. The auction is expected to be completed by the Spring. Akos published a tender in the Official Gazette with a public auction for the allocation of several frequency bands for the provision of public communications services to end users. This officially marked the beginning of the process of allocating six frequency bands, which also include the 700 and 3600 MHz and 26 GHz bands, which are intended for the introduction of the new 5G mobile technology. In addition to these, other frequency bands are included in the tender, all of which will otherwise be awarded in a technology-neutral manner; therefore, customers will be able to use them for any mobile technology.

Back in August 2020, Slovenia signed a declaration on 5G security, joining a group of countries agreeing with the U.S. to guard their networks in a way that could block China’s Huawei Technologies Co. from taking part. At a security conference in Prague in 2019, the Czech Republic, Poland, Romania, Latvia and Estonia signed joint statements with the U.S. similar to the one Slovenia inked Thursday. In it, they pledged to block access to companies that might be subject to foreign state interference.

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