Eurobites: Sunrise Welcomes 5G Dawn

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Elisa claims "commercial" 5G first; Fastweb gets faster; VAR contract in back of net for Net Insight.

  • Swiss operator Sunrise Communications AG has put what it says is Switzerland's first 5G antenna into operation, declaring as it does so that "5G for People" -- in other words, offering fiber-like broadband speeds over a wireless connection -- will be its focus, rather than IoT or industrial applications. Sunrise also warns that "NIS restrictions" -- Swiss regulations on levels of radiation -- could delay the introduction of 5G until 2020 or beyond. According to Sunrise, the current radiation regime in Switzerland is "ten times more exacting" than it is elsewhere. Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd is partnering with Sunrise in its 5G program, and a 5G WiFi hotspot device from the Chinese vendor will form part the initial set-up.

  • Elsewhere on the 5G front, Finland's Elisa Corp. claims it has become the first operator in the world to begin "commercial use" of a 5G network and actually start selling 5G subscriptions. 5G networks were launched this week in Tampere, Finland and Tallin, Estonia, and the technology was demonstrated with a video call made from Finland's Minster of Transport and Communications, Anne Berner, to Kadri Simson, Estonia's Minister of Economic Affairs and Infrastructure. Berner says that her ministry is ready to allocate the first 5G licenses in the 3,400-3,800MHz frequency band in the fall.

  • Italian broadband provider Fastweb SpA (Milan: FWB) has deployed a 300Gbit/s service over its backbone network between Milan and Rome, using Coriant 's CloudWave Optics technology.

  • It's fair to say that the use of the "video assistant referee" (VAR) system has not been an unqualified success in the ongoing soccer World Cup. While some* may rejoice in the part it played in eliminating world champions Germany from the competition, others point to the inconsistencies in its implementation and general rubbishness. However, as the saying goes, it's a dirty job and someone's got to do it. And in this case it's Net Insight AB (Stockholm: NETI-B), which has landed a "significant" contract from an unnamed European telco for a VAR network, connecting 19 soccer stadiums to a central location. Let's hope that by the time this particular VAR network is called into action, some of the issues dogging the current use of the technology are resolved (maybe by helping some of the referees to understand the handball rules).

  • European chipmakers are looking for more help from the EU as they look to survive and thrive in an increasingly tough economic climate, according to a report seen by Reuters. The companies that (anonymously) contributed to the report want to see the budget for a semiconductor R&D program launched in 2014 doubled to €10 billion euros ($11.7 billion) in the EU's next seven-year budget period.

    *In this context, "some" = "the rest of the world."

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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