All three of Switzerland’s existing mobile network operators won sufficient spectrum to launch mobile 5G services later this year

Switzerland’s big three mobile network operators (MNOs) have secured spectrum for their debut 5G offerings, spending a total of 380 million Swiss Francs ($379m) in the process.

Swisscom, Sunrise and Salt all acquired the spectrum with which they will launch mobile 5G services later this year. However, London based telecoms firm, Dense Air, dropped out of the bidding process, putting to rest rumours that it was poised to enter the Swiss market as the country’s fourth MNO.

Swisscom, who spent 196 million Swiss Francs ($195 million), acquired two 15MHz blocks of 700MHz spectrum, one 50MHz block of 1,400MHz spectrum and 120MHz of 3.6GHz spectrum. In total, Swisscom acquired 46 per cent of all of the spectrum that was on offer in Switzerland’s auction.

“By building the 5G network, we are contributing to improving the competitiveness of Switzerland as a centre for business. We want to inspire people in the networked world, whether they are in the city or in the countryside. Swisscom plans to go live with 5G as soon as possible and initially plans to roll out 5G to 60 towns and communities by the end of 2019. The first 5G-enabled devices are expected to reach the Swiss market in the next few months and will allow customers to enjoy higher speeds, faster response times and better capacity," said Urs Schaeppi, CEO of Swisscom.

Sunrise’s CEO was also pleased with his company’s spectrum acquisition, which included a blend of spectrum in the low, mid, and higher frequency bands (700MHz-3.8GHz).  

"We prepared meticulously for the auction, resulting in prudent use of our resources to secure valuable spectrum. This clever bidding strategy has secured the implementation of our 5G strategy as planned. Our entire frequency portfolio of existing and new frequencies enables us to deliver the outstanding network quality and capacity needed in the years to come. We were able to acquire the strategically most important bands at a very favorable price per MHz, even better than the competition," he said.

Salt secured two lots of 10MHz spectrum in the 700MHz range, 10MHz of 1,400MHz spectrum and 80Mhz of 3.5GHz spectrum. The company’s CEO, Pascal Grieder, said that he was pleased with the outcome of the auction, saying that the telco was now in an ideal position to launch 5G in the second half of 2019.

"Our strategy has been successful, and we now look forward to further improving our existing network and to launch 5G services later this year. The introduction of 5G technology will be a key element to bring digitalisation in Switzerland to the next level and make a significant contribution to the competitiveness of the country’s infrastructure," he said. 

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