Sunday 2 January 2022

Cyprus is hoping for 5G to gain ground in 2022

Cyprus has suffered from the effects of the pandemic, which essentially closed down the tourism sector during 2020 and into 2021. Nevertheless, the incumbent telco Cyta reported strong revenue growth in 2020, largely due to greater use of broadband and mobile services, though investment fell as a result of pandemic-related delays in completing planned projects. Cyta has offered mobile services under the Cytamobile-Vodafone brand since 2004 following a partner agreement with Vodafone Group, while Epic was acquired by Monaco Telecom in mid-2018. In mid-2021 Monaco agreed to sell its entire passive infrastructure in Cyprus. The number of mobile subscribers fell in 2020, largely the result of subscribers scaling back on multiple SIM cards as an economic measure.

The island of Cyprus is de facto divided into various jurisdictions here we are focusing on the Greek-speaking part controlled by the government of the Republic of Cyprus (hereinafter referred to as "the South"). In the South different providers operate from in the North, although there is now roaming between the two which wasn't the case in the past. A call between the South and the North is possible, but will be charged as a foreign call to another continent.

For a tourist it's very easy nowadays to cross between the South and North at multiple points and visit the other part. But you should know that you will lose coverage soon after doing so. Furthermore, EU law is suspended in the North, so roaming prices are not regulated. Generally it's not advisable to use a SIM from the South in the North or vice versa.

The networks in South are: Cyta Vodafone, epic (formerly MTN) and PrimeTel.

2G is on 900 and 1800 MHz, 3G on 2100 MHz, 4G/LTE is in the South on all three networks on 1800 MHz (B3) available for prepaid. More spectrum on 800 and 2600 MHz (B20 and B7) followed. There is no 4G/LTE in the North yet.

In 2020 the four provisional winners for 5G licences, Cyta, Epic, Cablenet (an MVNO) and Primetel, all bought 5G spectrum frequencies and started their preparations to develop networks to connect all devices. Cyta and Epic acquired a 2×10 MHz block in the 700 MHz and 100 MHz in the 3.6 GHz, while Cablenet and Primetel acquired a 2×5 MHz block in the 700 MHz and 50 MHz in 3.6 GHz.

Cyta for CYprus Telecommunication Authority is jointly owned by the Government of the Republic of Cyprus and Vodafone and is still the largest operator in the country giving a reasonable coverage at the highest rates around.

4G/LTE started in 2015 in the towns of Nicosia, Limassol, Larnaca, Paphos.

Cyta launched the first 5G network in Cyprus in January 2021.The Cytamobile-Vodafone 5G network has a population coverage of 70 per cent and is expected to reach 98 per cent in around 12 months, the company said. All Cytamobile-Vodafone subscribers, individuals and companies have access to the 5G network at no extra charge. All a subscriber needs is to be to have a 5G device certified on the Cyta network and to be in an area with 5G coverage. At the 5G Techritory Conference 2021, Chrysis Phiniotis, CTIO of CYTA presented a talk on 'CYTA 5G Journey to the Top'. His talk is available here.

Epic is the second network operator in the South: Coverage map. In 2018 it was sold to Monaco Telecom who rebranded it in June 2019 to epic. It offers data at slightly more competitive rates than Cyta at a slightly lower coverage.

4G/LTE started in 2015 on 1800 MHz in major towns and is now available to prepaid users too. In 2017 about 93% of the population of the South is supposed to be covered on 1800 MHz (B3) and 800 MHz (B20). 

The Epic 5G network was also recently launched and is expanding at a very fast pace to soon cover most of the population, along with a wide range of supported mobile devices.

PrimeTel PLC is a multiservice provider with various fixed broadband and mobile services. It is very popular for ADSL, TV and landline phone service in the South. It's the first MVNO in the South too.

It started in 2011 using the Cytamobile network. In 2014 they have been granted a license to build own physical network on 3G and 4G/LTE. It has already covered 60% of territory by its own 4G/LTE and 99% on its own 3G since 2015, making Cyta no more needed, but roaming with Cyta is still operational for 2G (GSM/GPRS/EDGE) modes. 4G/LTE is open for prepaid customers without surcharge. Be aware that 4G coverage is still spotty in rural areas.

Related Posts:

No comments:

Post a Comment