Ericsson’s head of 5G commercialisation, Thomas Noren, told Total Telecom that European operators could learn lessons from Swisscom’s 5G rollout, which aims to deliver 90 per cent population coverage inside its first year

European operators must be prepared to utilise spectrum sharing technology in order to scale up their 5G network coverage, or risk having their network growth stunted as they wait for new bands to be auctioned.

Governments across Europe have been accused of artificially elevating the price of 5G spectrum boost their own revenues. MNOs in the UK have recently challenged Ofcom’s decision to bundle 4G and 5G spectrum at auction, arguing that it unfairly increases the amount of capital expenditure for their 5G rollout programmes.

Ericsson‘s head of 5G commercialisation, Thomas Noren, believes that Euope’s mobile network operators could learn a lesson from Swisscom’s plans for 5G in 2019.

Ericsson was instrumental in Swisscom’s 5G rollout earlier this month, which made it Europe’s first 5G state. Swisscom has plans to scale up its network coverage to 90 per cent of the population by the end of the year.

"Swisscom is aiming to provide 5G network coverage to 90 per cent of the Swiss population. They will achieve that buy using spectrum sharing technology, which allows operators to use spectrum for 4G and 5G simultaneously.

"It means that if you have built a network on 1800Mhz or 21000Mhz or even 700Mhz spectrum, you can very shrewdly switch on your 5G services.

"They don’t need to build a new Massive MIMO antenna at every site, they can use their existing infrastructure.

"I think it’s the only economical way to build 5G coverage unless you have a lot of spectrum and I don’t see any operators who think that they have too much spectrum.

"It’s absolutely vital for 5G rollout – it allows you to reuse the investments you already made. It was approved earlier this year, so there are no regulatory hurdles," he added.

Noren said that network operators need support from Europe’s regulatory bodies to enable them to rollout a comprehensive 5G service. The timely release of spectrum is key to that end, as Noren explains.  

"The key is spectrum. Operators need to be allocated spectrum on friendly terms. It needs to be allocated, not for the benefit of the taxman, but for the benefit of building out and supporting the network.

"Governments should create an investment friendly climate so that network operators and stakeholders have the incentive to invest," he added.  


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