Swiss state-owned full service provider and mobile market leader Swisscom has unveiled plans for the development of its 5G network and Internet of Things (IoT) services. Regarding the former, Swisscom has carried out field tests in Zurich of a prototype 5G system developed by Swedish vendor Ericsson. The test used a single base station and two terminal devices, and achieved peak download speeds of 10Gbps. Meanwhile, in May this year the cellco began allowing customers to experience ‘5G’ speeds of 800Mbps – achieved through combining four different LTE frequencies – at its store in Zurich. Swisscom plans to deploy the demonstration system to 15 additional stores by the end of this year. Commenting on the company’s plans, CTO and CIO Heinz Herren was quoted as saying: ‘Swisscom is making targeted investment in the development of 5G to ensure we continue to provide our customers with the best mobile communications experience in Switzerland in future. We are already the first provider in Switzerland to present 5G applications with our partner Ericsson. They establish the foundation for the further digitisation of Switzerland.’ Swisscom is planning to launch commercial 5G services in 2020, at which date it will deactivate its legacy 2G/2.5G systems.
Elsewhere, Swisscom introduced Network Function Virtualisation (NFV) in May this year and plans to carry out field trials of network slicing in 2018 alongside its partner Ypsomed. The operator noted that network slicing would ensure that applications used in industrial communications – such as by the emergency services – are guaranteed network resources, ‘as their data traffic is separated from the general data stream on the mobile network.’
Finally, Swisscom’s low power, wide area (LPWA) LoRaWAN-based network for IoT services (which uses unlicensed spectrum) will be extended to cover 90% of the population by the end of 2017, and tests of two cellular licensed spectrum-based LPWA IoT technologies – Narrow Band IoT (NB-IoT) and LTE Category M1 (Cat-M1 or LTE-M) – are scheduled to start this year, with a commercial launch planned for 2018.