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Swisscom picks Ericsson to build its 5G network

Swiss incumbent operator Swisscom commits to nationwide gigabit 4G from 2018, and 5G from 2020

Telecoms operator Swisscom – the former Swiss government comms monopoly – has enlisted Sweden’s Ericsson to conduct a complete digital overhaul of its mobile network to get Switzerland ready for 5G.

Swisscom will deploy Ericsson’s full-stack telecoms cloud system in support of its plan to provide a gigabit-capable 4G long term evolution (LTE) network across Switzerland from 2018, and 5G two years later.

The operator said this would not only enable it to massively enhance its mobile broadband offering for customers, but also accelerate the development of enterprise 5G use cases build around massive machine type communication (MTC) and critical MTC in verticals including manufacturing, energy and health.

The two companies have already demonstrated applications based on 5G network slicing and narrowband internet of things (NB-IoT) designed to support the digitisation of enterprise processes, and have been working alongside academic partners at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) to develop and trial industrial applications.

“We would like to offer the best network to our customers in Switzerland – today and in the future. That’s why we invest massively in the latest mobile network technologies such as gigabit LTE and 5G,” said Swisszom CIO and CTO Heinz Herren.

“Ericsson is a true leader in 5G technology and I am convinced that, together, we will achieve our goal to deliver greater innovation and provide customers with the best experiences.”

Swisscom will be using Ericsson’s radio access products – including small cells – and core systems, including network functions virtualisation (NFV), virtualised evolved packet core and virtualised IP multimedia subsystem (IMS). It will also lean on the Swedes for optimisation, planning, design and integration services.

Currently, Swisscom can address 60% of the population with 450Mbps 4G browsing, and 80% with 300Mbps, and the upgrade of its 4G network to gigabit speeds – and nationwide coverage – is already well in hand, with 11 cities across the country expected to have upgraded sites by the end of 2017.

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