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    First commercial 5G network launched in Europe

    Swisscom and Ericsson announced on Wednesday that they have launched the first 5G network in Europe, two weeks after the opening of a countrywide 5G network in South Korea. The network covers 50 Swiss cantons and includes the country’s largest cities, such as Lausanne, Zurich, Geneva and the capital, Berne. The Swiss telecoms operator and the Swedish firm plans to cover the rest of the country by the end of the year. The first smartphones compatible with the new network will start arriving during the year, they say.

    “The launch of this first commercial 5G network enables 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,” Swisscom Director General Urs Schaeppi said in a press release.

    Ericsson’s president for Europe and Latin America, Arun Bansal, said the launch enabled the two companies to “strengthen the 5G ecosystem by reducing the gap between the opening of networks for compatible chips and devices.”

    In many of the world’s regions, having 5G is seen as key to maintaining a competitive edge, particularly because of the degree of connectivity this new generation of mobile telephone communication offers in terms of digitization and large-scale connection, even if its original promises now seem more hypothetical.

    Many countries have already announced the launch of small-scale coverage for use linked to fixed Internet, especially the United States.

    Early this month, South Korea became the first country in the world to announce the launch of a 5G network covering its entire territory.

    In Europe, the United Kingdom, Finland and Italy have already given out the required frequencies. Germany is currently organising auctions in this regard, while France is due to launch its award process in the last quarter of this year.

    Oscar Schneider
    The Brussels Times