Swisscom takes step towards nationwide 5G coverage

Telco deploys spectrum-sharing technology to help realise its goal of reaching 90% 5G coverage of Switzerland by end of this year

After claiming the world’s first 5G data call using spectrum-sharing technologies in September this year, Ericsson and Qualcomm have teamed up again to offer such capability for Swiss incumbent telco Swisscom.

Swisscom was the first service provider in Europe to launch 5G services commercially in April 2019, using the 3.6GHz band, and is now taking the next step towards realising its goal of reaching 5G coverage of 90% of Switzerland by end of this year.

The spectrum-sharing technology service means providers can maintain their investments on bands currently used for LTE (Long-Term Evolution) to support a fast introduction of 5G. It is embedded in the Ericsson Radio System and is designed to enable a transition from 4G to 5G nationwide coverage through a network software upgrade.

The system will dynamically share spectrum between 4G and 5G carriers based on traffic demand. The switch between carriers is claimed to happen within milliseconds, minimising spectrum wastage and enhancing end-user performance. It is compatible with all 5G FDD capable smartphones and other devices based on the Qualcomm Snapdragon 5G mobile platform.

The dynamic spectrum-sharing (DSS) data call on commercial platforms in the Swisscom labs is the first act in a large-scale 5G roll-out across Switzerland, and is a part of the telco’s ambition to be a 5G leader in Europe. Ericsson and Qualcomm say that the call, described as a “5G milestone”, is the first time an over-the-air 5G data call using dynamic spectrum-sharing has been conducted with a service provider in Switzerland.

“Ericsson spectrum-sharing allows Swisscom to best leverage the existing frequency spectrum and infrastructure for 4G and 5G customers, depending on their needs,“ said Patrick Weibel, head of Swisscom’s 5G programme.“Spectrum-sharing will ensure that Swisscom can provide extensive 5G coverage to its customers as soon as possible.”

Dino Flore, vice-president, technology at Qualcomm Europe, added: “Coverage is the next killer app for 5G. Spectrum-sharing will be a key catalyst for nationwide 5G coverage, helping deliver ubiquitous 5G services to consumers.”

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