Despite resistance or cantonal moratoria, operators continue to activate their 5G antennas in Switzerland. But at the moment, few people have devices to receive the signal.
by Eric Felley
This is a figure that is climbing every week or so. The number of 5G antennas activated in Switzerland will soon reach 3000. Journalist Valentin Tombez from the “RTS” publishes on Twitter, without further comment, the growth of the antennas activated thanks to a link he created with the site of the Federal Office of Communications (OFCOM).
At the same time last year, there were about 300. If those 3000 antennas are activated, are they still used? On this subject, OFCOM specifies: “Operators are obliged to regularly inform us of their antennas which are in service and therefore activated and functional. However, we do not have any information on the rate of use of the antennas ”. The office does not have an estimate on the proportion of people who already use 5G in Switzerland.
Swisscom: a minority of users
In February 2019, three operators bought concessions from the Confederation for 380 million francs: Swisscom, Sunrise and Salt. At Swisscom, spokesperson Christian Neuhaus explains: “We currently have 745 5G antennas, full version, in service, in 348 localities”. Are there any customers among their customers who are already fluent in 5G? “We do not communicate figures, but it is obviously a minority”.
The spokesperson added: “We deployed a basic version of 5G at the end of last year. It covers about 90% of the population. The basic version uses frequencies long allocated to mobile telephony which are gradually being used for 5G. These allow area coverage with a data rate of up to 1Gbit / s. Added to this is the frequency (3.5 GHz) released last year, which was previously used for TV reporting. We need it for the full version ”.
Sunrise and its 5G Highspeed
But for Sunrise, which placed the first 5G antenna in the summer of 2018, there is no question of delaying. The operator offers a card on its site , where we can see that its 5G offer is already in place. “Sunrise currently provides more than 595 cities or places with Highspeed 5G (in the 3.5 GHz bands) with Internet connection speeds of up to 2 Gbit / s, explains its press service. The list of localities shows towns and places where the population coverage by the Highspeed 5 g is greater than 80% ”. Sunrise also wants to “cover 90% of the population with Basic 5G in the lower bands (700 MHz) by the third quarter”.
Salt: moratoriums contrary to federal law
In this context, the Salt operator is more discreet. Its press service specifies that it is in the process of deploying its 5G network: “The tests are being finalized and the launch will take place in the near future”. Salt is however determined to rise to the challenge: “We bought these frequencies at the auction in 2019 and there is no suspensive effect from initiatives whose outcome is uncertain. Applicable law must be observed until it is adapted. Furthermore, the moratoriums in the cantons mentioned are contrary to federal law ”.