You wait ages for a 5G network launch and four turn up in a matter of days: Swedish carrier Telia Company is the latest carrier to announce it has switched on a 5G network, with the help of Ericsson of course.
Although the Telia network is not yet at the commercial stage, unlike the three 5G networks just launched in South Korea, the carrier and Ericsson point out that this is an important step toward the expected commercial launch of 5G in Sweden in 2020.
That’s because the 5G network, situated at KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm and using a test license, is based on standardized and commercial radio and core products. An Ericsson spokesperson said the solution is based on the 3GPP standard (option 3x) for Non Standalone 5G New Radio, where the user plane makes use of 5G and the control plane uses 4G. “For the core network we use CUPS (Control and User Plane Separation), which has a positive effect on latency,” the spokesperson added.
The network also provides a 5G testbed for partners. Areas of study will include autonomous transportation, IoT, smart buildings and city infrastructure, industry automation, and remote virtual reality.
Telia noted that the frequencies required for commercial launch of 5G in Sweden will not be available until 2020. Indeed, the Post and Telecom Agency (PTS) is planning to auction wireless spectrum licenses for 5G services in the 3.4GHz-3.8GHz band in 2019, and it is also looking at selling off 5G mobile licenses in the 26.5GHz-27.5GHz band. The auction of 700MHz spectrum, which is aimed more at improving existing mobile broadband coverage in rural areas, started on Dec. 4.
The carrier said it will continue to develop 5G technology during 2019 “within the framework of the company’s 5G partnership program.” Partners include Volvo Construction Equipment, which plans to test 5G technology on automation and remote-controlled machines at its research and development unit in Eskilstuna; and Einride, which is testing self-driving electric trucks in use at DB Schenkers storage facility in Jönköping.
Telia also intends to launch similar 5G testbeds in its other Nordic markets. In Tallinn, Estonia, the aim is to launch a live 5G pilot network at Tallinn University of Technology (TalTech) before the end of 2018, with support from Ericsson. Telia partnered with Nokia for the introduction of 5G in Finland, and has launched pre-commercial 5G networks in Helsinki and Oulu.
Johan Dennelind, president and CEO of Telia Company, said he was “especially proud” to launch the first 5G network in Sweden, noting that the carrier promised two years ago to bring 5G to Helsinki, Tallinn and Stockholm during 2018.
“This is going to be a truly dynamic test environment where not only large businesses and entrepreneurs from our partnership program but also researchers and students can continue to develop solutions for the connected society so that Sweden can remain at the forefront when 5G is launched commercially in 2020,” Dennelind said.