Swisscom flipped the switch last night at the stroke of midnight to become the first mobile provider in Switzerland to go live with its 5G network across 102 locations in the first 54 towns – including Basel, Bern, Chur, Davos, Geneva, Lausanne and Zurich. Swisscom is installing the necessary infrastructure in the major cities, tourist areas and across the countryside to ensure 5G coverage across Switzerland from Aadorf to Zwischbergen by the end of the year.
The concession awarded by the Federal Communications Commission (ComCom) gives Swisscom the right to use the new frequencies 17 April 2019 for fifteen years. Most importantly, this comes with a state expectation of 50% coverage of the Swiss population by 2024. Under Swisscom's plans, more than 90 percent of the population will be covered by the end of 2019.
The frequencies were auctioned in February, raising a total of CHF 380 million for the Swiss Confederation. Legally, environmental protection within the area of telecommunications falls within the regulatory competence and jurisdiction of the Confederation (Art. 92 Federal Constitution and Art. 74 Federal Constitution). Swisscom shall fulfil its obligation to the Swiss Confederation and general public and hopes that the expansion will be based on constructive cooperation with the cantons and municipalities.
“The Swisscom 5G network will be ready for everyone across Switzerland by the end of the year as the new 5G devices from the major manufacturers wait under the Christmas trees,” says Urs Schaeppi, CEO Swisscom. 5G will create new opportunities for residential customers and businesses across Switzerland. 5G is the new mobile communication standard for digitisation, enabling the extremely fast connection of millions of devices, things and people.
Swisscom has the best mobile phone network in Switzerland – so say our customers and numerous independent tests. By introducing the first standardised commercial 5G network in Switzerland in association with technology partner Ericsson, Swisscom is once more underscoring its position as a technology leader. Swisscom will also use 5G to boost the Internet experience for customers at home where necessary. 30,000 customers already use a 4G booster and Swisscom customers will soon also be able to use the 5G booster.
As well as making its mobile network fit for the future, Swisscom is also continuing to invest heavily in its fixed network. By the end of 2021, Swisscom will bring fibre optic technology to all of Switzerland’s 2,212 communities. CEO Urs Schaeppi: “Our network is the foundation for a wide range of new applications and business models for a successful Switzerland, and a digital world that can involve and inspire everyone: in the cities, the country and the mountain regions.”
Adjustments to the Ordinance on Protection from Non-ionising Radiation (ONIR) are necessary to fully exploit the potential of 5G. The current provisions, which date from 1999, hinder rapid expansion and weaken the international competitiveness of Switzerland as a business location. The strict regulatory framework means that not all customers will benefit from the full capabilities of 5G.
By the end of June, a working group headed by the Federal Office of Environment, Forests and Landscape is to show the Federal Council how 5G can be implemented quickly and in compliance with the precautionary principle required by the federal law for the protection of the environment.
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