Swisscom is pushing ahead with the expansion of the 5G network and will supply the whole of Switzerland with 5G by the end of the year. Until now, 5G remained purely theoretical for residential customers as there were no end devices and no possibility to use 5G technology and its advantages. Now, the wait is over.
Following the first prototypes at the end of 2018, Swisscom can now announce four end devices for sale. The very first 5G device in the Swisscom shop comes from the manufacturer Oppo, followed by other brands such as LG (from May), Samsung (from July) and Huawei (third quarter).
Oppo smartphones are among the most popular end devices in the Far East, and Oppo is one of the world's leading manufacturers. Oppo Reno 5G, their first 5G smartphone, will be available from May in the Swisscom Shop. Based on a Qualcomm chipset, it impresses with an almost borderless screen, a 10x hybrid zoom and a special night mode. It is aimed in particular at a young, creative audience. Existing inOne mobile smartphone subscriptions already support 5G. Those who want even more speed, can purchase a Premium Speed option for CHF 10 per month.
These devices will multiply the applications. Swisscom presented real applications for virtual and augmented reality and gaming at its media event. It's no coincidence that these are among the first: they demonstrate the possibilities of the new technology such as speed, low latency and high capacity. Urs Schaeppi, CEO of Swisscom, says: "So far, each technological leap in mobile communications has led to a fundamental change in everyday life." The full potential of 5G will initially be exploited by companies. Urs Schaeppi continues: "This requires a full-service provider like Swisscom who combines the possibilities of 5G with the Internet of Things, the cloud or data analytics. Companies can benefit from this. They can save costs in the long term and take advantage of new opportunities." Swisscom has been researching the possibilities of 5G together with partners in the 5G for Switzerland programme since 2016.
As soon as the Federal Office of Communications grants the licence, Swisscom will activate the 5G network which it has established with technology partner Ericsson. The first 5G devices run on a proven frequency in the 3.5 gigahertz band, which was previously used for outdoor TV reports and has now been approved by the federal government for mobile communications. This frequency is designed to achieve speeds of up to 2 Gbit/s (5G-fast). During the media event, Swisscom demonstrated a peak speed of 1.86 Gbit/s. "As number one, we are responsible for our country and must think ahead," says Urs Schaeppi. "We invented prepaid in 1996, introduced Mobile Unlimited as a world first in 2004 and were the first to build a 4G network in 2012. We intend to ensure Switzerland remains an innovation location. We have therefore been shaping the development of 5G in international committees since 2016 and are working on a modernisation of NIRO." By the end of the year, Switzerland will be supplied with 5G; this includes cities, the countryside and the mountain regions. Known as 5G-wide, this stage of the expansion uses frequencies that permit extensive coverage. Customers everywhere will benefit from faster response times, greater bandwidths and, thanks to technology sharing with 4G, higher speeds.
While many applications for residential customers are still in their infancy, 5G in companies has already left the starting blocks and is enabling intelligent control of industrial plants, for example. Swisscom presented the following applications at the media event on 10 April 2019:
Swisscom already offers Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) via the 4G network for SMEs and Enterprise Customers. FWA makes very fast Internet connections possible without a fixed network connection. This creates exciting application possibilities in, for example, the construction industry. In addition, software developer Edorex is already using Swisscom's 5G Campus Network Solution to connect employees via 5G.
VR and AR glasses that can be used together with a smartphone add value to customer service. Possible applications include using glasses to support technicians via the back office at a customer's site for troubleshooting or maintenance.
Just like music and video, games are migrating to the cloud, and the high-end home computer is becoming superfluous. Thanks to 5G, games can be streamed any time and anywhere via mobile phone, either directly on a large-format television or on a mobile phone.
Choose and try on glasses or sunglasses, at home, on the road or anywhere. Simply select the desired model, place it in front of the web cam and examine yourself with the glasses. This example shows how mobile communications can also be used to redesign customer experiences.
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