Ericsson has announced that it has switched on what it claims is the first large-scale commercial 5G network in Europe.

The network, which has been switched on in 54 cities and communities in Switzerland, has been launched in partnership with Swisscom.

It means those in supporting areas with 5G-capable smartphones or routers are able to begin using the technology immediately through provider Swisscom.

The two companies plan to expand coverage of the commercial 5G network over the next few months, with a view to providing nationwide 5G coverage accessible to around 90% of the Swiss population by the end of the year.

“This is a momentous occasion for Swisscom and Europe – 5G is now commercially live,” said Arun Bansal, president and head of Europe and Latin America at Ericsson.

Driving use of the first commercial 5G network

While 5G capable devices are currently rare in Europe, Swisscom has attempted to drive consumer adoption ahead of the launch.

On 10 April the company conducted a launch ceremony for the commercial 5G network, and introduced a number of partners providing both smartphones and mobile router technologies.

It is also keen to stress the potential 5G provides for more industrial applications, including the internet of things (IoT) and wider Industry 4.0 technologies, and the potential of the technology for enterprise.

“With the launch of the first commercial 5G network in Switzerland, we are laying the foundation for diverse, new applications and business models,” said Urs Schaeppi, CEO of Swisscom.

“This will not only be great for Switzerland but also inspiring for the people who will now be part of the digital world whether they are living in the city, countryside, or in the mountains.”

“As we continue our close ties with Swisscom, we are also strengthening the 5G ecosystem by reducing the time-to-market for chipset and device makers,” added Bansal.

“We ensure multivendor operability with 5G devices and networks, enabling more 5G devices to come to the market so consumers can enjoy the benefits of 5G services.”

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The Swiss regions with access to the new network include Zürich, Bern, Geneva, Basel, Lausanne and Lucerne.

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