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Swisscom Startup Challenge 2020

Swisscom, Ericsson and Qualcomm join forces to find the world's most innovative 5G applications

Swisscom, one of Switzerland’s leading ICT companies, is joining forces with Ericsson and Qualcomm CDMA Technologies GmbH to identify the world’s most innovative start-ups and research teams working on 5G applications. The five winners of the Swisscom Start-up Challenge will be invited to Switzerland in spring 2021 for an Exploration Week during which they will have the opportunity to carry out extensive testing on their prototypes in Swisscom’s live 5G network and take them to the next level. They will have access to the Swisscom 5G lab, its live network and to 5G devices, and will receive the support of experts and mentors from Ericsson, Qualcomm CDMA Technologies and Swisscom. The deadline for applications is 11 October 2020.
Esther Hüsler
Esther Hüsler, Media spokesperson
24 September 2020

With its ultra-fast, robust broadband connections and low latency, 5G – the latest generation of mobile communications – opens up a whole host of new possibilities. A worldwide battle is raging to be among the pioneers building the first networks to take advantage of this technology at an early stage. In April 2019, Swisscom was the first European provider – and the fifth in the world – to go live with its 5G network and it continues to constantly expand it. The winners will benefit from this head start: Swisscom is now joining forces with its partners Ericsson and Qualcomm CDMA Technologies to launch the Swisscom 5G Start-up Challenge and is inviting the winners to carry out extensive testing on their applications in the live 5G network and take them to the next level.


Launched in 2013, the Swisscom Start-up Challenge is focusing entirely on 5G in 2020, and this year, for the very first time, is open to start-ups and research teams from around the world. In the past seven years, the winners of the challenge, including Ava, Exeon Analytics, Futurae and Sentifi, have each travelled to Silicon Valley for a week-long Acceleration Programme. This year, Swisscom and its partners will invite the winners to spend a week in Switzerland, where they will have the opportunity to carry out extensive testing on the latest mobile generation's most innovative applications and take them to the next level – in the Swisscom network.

Pick up expert knowledge and explore Switzerland

Start-ups and research teams from across the world who want to exploit 5G’s potential and have already developed a product or prototype are invited to apply. Applications must be received at by 11 October 2020. The ten most interesting applications will then be invited to the final in December 2020. The top five 5G innovators will travel to Switzerland in March 2021, where they will have the chance to spend a week performing test cases at Swisscom’s 5G lab or in different locations, regions and also on trains across the live network. They will be supported every step of the way by mentors and experts from Ericsson, Qualcomm CDMA Technologies, Venturelab and Swisscom, and will have the opportunity to exchange ideas with top entrepreneurs and venture capitalists. In addition, the winners will be able to explore Switzerland, visiting leading global innovation facilities, such as the Federal Institute of Technology and the Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne, and meeting pioneers of business and technology. Travel costs, accommodation and meals will be covered by Swisscom.

A trip to the 2021 Mobile World Congress for the people’s choice

In November 2020, the general public will also be given the chance to vote for their favourite application. The start-up or research team that wins the public vote will travel to the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona in 2021 at the invitation of the programme partners.

What the partners say

“Technology only develops its power in combination with innovative ideas and useful customer applications. Together with our partners Ericsson and Qualcomm, we are very curious to see how much creativity start-ups around the world have already invested in 5G technology and look forward to welcoming the finalists in Switzerland.”


Roger Wüthrich-Hasenböhler, Chief Digital Officer, Swisscom



“Reliable and high-performance connectivity is the key for start-ups, especially in the area of smart services and apps. As the driving force behind 5G, we at Ericsson are delighted to be able to offer creative people an appropriate innovation platform with the latest mobile technology.”


Martin Bürki, Managing Director Ericsson Switzerland



“Qualcomm Technologies is proud to be involved in the Swisscom 5G Start-up Challenge and I am honoured to be part of the judging panel and look forward to encountering innovative start-ups from around the world and seeing the innovative ideas submitted to fully utilise 5G capabilities.”


Enrico Salvatori, SVP Qualcomm Europe, Inc. and president Qualcomm EMEA

About Swisscom

Swisscom, Switzerland’s leading telecoms company and one of its leading IT companies, is headquartered in Ittigen, close to the capital city Berne. Outside Switzerland, Swisscom has a presence on the Italian market in the guise of Fastweb. In the first half of 2020, about 19,000 employees generated sales of CHF 5,443 million. It is 51% Confederation-owned and is one of Switzerland’s most sustainable and innovative companies.

About Ericsson

Ericsson is a global market leader in communications technology and services, with headquarters in Stockholm, Sweden. Its core business is equipping mobile networks. 40 percent of worldwide mobile traffic is handled by Ericsson network technology. With innovative solutions and services, Ericsson is working on the vision of a networked future in which every individual and every industry can realise its full potential.


Ericsson currently holds more than 100 commercial 5G agreements and contracts with mobile network operators worldwide. In addition, Ericsson is involved in a majority of all commercially launched 5G live networks. The 60 5G live networks supported by Ericsson worldwide include networks in Germany and Switzerland.


Founded in 1876, the company employs around 99,000 people worldwide and works with customers in 180 countries. In 2019, Ericsson had net sales of SEK 227.2 billion. Ericsson is listed on NASDAQ OMX in Stockholm and NASDAQ in New York.

About Qualcomm

Qualcomm is the world’s leading wireless technology innovator and the driving force behind the development, launch and expansion of 5G. When we connected the phone to the internet, the mobile revolution was born. Today, our foundational technologies enable the mobile ecosystem and are found in every 3G, 4G and 5G smartphone. We bring the benefits of mobile to new industries, including automotive, the internet of things and computing, and are leading the way to a world where everything and everyone can communicate and interact seamlessly.


Qualcomm Incorporated includes our licensing business, QTL, and the vast majority of our patent portfolio. Qualcomm Technologies, Inc., a subsidiary of Qualcomm Incorporated, operates, along with its subsidiaries, all of our engineering, research and development functions, and all of our products and services businesses, including our QCT semiconductor business.


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